How to achieve your goal with the help of the "SMART" model
There are many paths you could choose from in order to achieve your goal. Some people work to exhaustion, others sacrifice almost anything just to get where they want to, while many people fail in their objectives and remain with a bitter-sweet taste they will never have what they aimed for.
What is the SMART model?
The SMART model will help you challenge your goal and the strategy you’ve adopted in order to accomplish it.
It’s a good way to analyze if what you want is meaningful and if it can be achieved. To go through it, you will need piece of paper and a clearly defined goal, within one sentence. After that check if your goal is:
To check whether your ambition is specific enough, you will need to develop sub-goals based on your goal. Let’s say, for instance, you want to raise a certain amount of money by next March. In order to do so, you will need to cut back on some of your spending. Spend less on fast food, pay less on clothes etc.
How do you know you’re on the right track, if you’re not measuring it? Continuing the example with saving up money, you need to do a little math. Let’s say you want to put aside $6,000 in one year for a one-week trip to Paris, France. Good! Now, look over at your bank statements or receipts from at least the last 3 months to check your spending habits. How much do you usually spend on food? How much do you spend on entertainment or on cosmetics? Let’s say you spend $400 a month on entertainment which includes magazines, going out bowling, watching sports games, movies, meeting up with friends etc. If you cut back your budget to half, in just one year you’ll save $200X12, meaning $2,400, only by seeing less movies at the cinema, going out just once a week and giving up on magazine subscriptions. Create milestones every 3 months, to keep you on track.
Don’t set a goal that is impossible to reach. Most likely, you won’t be the first settler on Mars. Also, you may not win an Oscar in the next 2 years. Besides being realistic to yourself, you need to also make sure that your goal narrows down to a specific thing. “Be a guru of music” is a too broad term. Narrow it down by mastering a specific music skill, such as vocals or the guitar.
Make your goal relevant. Make sure that both your goal and your sub-goals on which you are building milestones are relevant for your life. This means that if you’re doing your best to follow them, your efforts will make a visible difference in your well-being. Pay particular attention to the sub-goals you are setting. They all need to lead to the final goal, not to be on the list just to make your life harder.
As already discussed, goals and sub-goals need to be defined by deadlines. Make sure your deadlines are realistic and you can stick to them. Sometimes you may get distracted or certain events may interfere with your schedule, without you being able to foresee them in the beginning. Keep away from temptation and go on, adapt, don’t lose course.