Do you still dream? As we get older, many of us put our dreams off. Dreams can and should be realized, they should be lived! But how do we do that? The reality of life today isn’t very dream friendly. It’s tough. There are obligations to meet. Dreams start to feel like they have no place. Let’s look at a common dream – a better life, for yourself and others. Now let’s take that dream and make it a reality by using the SMART Goals format. SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
While everyone wants a better life for themselves, for their loved ones, and maybe even for the world as a whole, that desire in and of itself is vague. So, let’s ask some questions to get some clarity on this “better life”.
Grab a pen and paper and get ready to start writing.
What does a better life mean? How does it look? Who is with you? Where are you? Why do you want or need a better life?
Answering these questions will bring us closer to creating a specific goal with form and clarity. A specific goal is one that is easier to work toward.
Your goal is now specified, and written down. Next we need to determine how we are going to measure (and reward) our successes in reaching our goal milestones. The measurability of a goal means that it is both observable and trackable. What behaviors can you observe? How will you track them?
It’s just as important to keep a written record of the progress you’re making toward your goal as it is to write down your goal and plan. Keeping a written (or typed) record gives you a visual so that you can monitor the speed of your progress, take note of roadblocks as they occur, and allows you to review what you have done so you can continue toward what still needs to be done.
To make your goal attainable you may have to break the larger goal into smaller goals and tasks. Ask yourself what you need to do today to reach your goal? Then do it. Repeat this everyday. Make it a habit. Own your goal!
It’s great to have grandiose goals. Breaking those large goals into smaller tasks can help you achieve those goals. Being realistic about what you can do and how much you can do will further help you fine tune your smaller goals and tasks.
This will require humility and honesty. You will need to take a step back and ask yourself whether the tasks you have chosen to achieve your goals will help you maintain your focus and direction. Will they create sustainable, success oriented habits? Are you willing to commit to doing these tasks? How can you prevent yourself from burnout? How long do you think it will take to accomplish your goal?
Lastly, once you have determined how long is a realistic time frame for your goal, you will need to consider all the “when” questions associated with your goal.
When will you achieve your better life? When will you make time to do the tasks you need to do to get there? How much time per day can you give toward reaching your goal? (Not a when question, but it is time related).
Now create a timeline, schedule your tasks, and follow the schedule. And yes, write it down.
You’re on Your Way
Your better life isn’t as far away as you think it is. You just have to be ready. Ready to commit, ready to work hard, ready to change, ready for the challenge. In the end, accomplishing your goals will make you ready for life.