S.M.A.R.T. Goals

One of my favorite maxims from King Solomon is: "Where there is no vision, the people perish." I've heard many a pastor quote this passage when sharing a sort of "State of The Church" message with their congregation.  While this was written mainly with a corporate/community aspect in mind, I think it also works on the personal level. Another way of reading it is, "If you don't know where you're going or how to get there, you never will."

I think some of the reasons many of us never hit our goals is that they are too vague or seem impossible. Or maybe there is no accountability, no concrete plan, or no way to measure our progress. As I was talking about this with a friend a few months back, he said, "Oh, you're talking about S.M.A.R.T. goals."  Huh? What he shared and what I'm sharing here is by no means original. But it is helpful. (Also, some people hate acronyms, but I find them useful.)

A S.M.A.R.T. goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic, and Time-Bound. (There is a lot of fluctuation on what a few of the words might be. I like these. I paired Ambitious and Realistic because I think they provide a good balance.)

A goal like "I want to lose weight," while noble, isn't really strong. If you lose half a pound by simply going from your holiday eating habits back to your normal routine, you've 'accomplished' your goal.  You can lose weight in a variety of ways. You could lose muscle mass. You could lose water weight.  You could sit in a sauna for 15 minutes and 'lose weight.'  So, "I want to lose weight" is not specific, it's not ambitious, and it's not time-bound. 

A goal in this area that I have for myself in 2017 is "I want to lose 13 pounds of body fat (drop from 210 to 197) while maintaining my strength in the first three months of 2017." I also have some concrete tactical plans on HOW to do that, but it would take too long to get into that.

That goal is specific (I want to lose this much), measurable (via a scale and body fat reader), ambitious (I love donuts), realistic (1 pound a week is very doable), and time-bound (3 months.) I can check in each week and see where I'm at on my goal and make adjustments to my diet, exercise routine, and sleep.

If you have a goal for yourself during this season in life, write down what your destination is, take an honest assessment of where you're at, and start building out the a concrete plan to bridge the two.