The S in SMART stands for specific goals. If you want successful goals that stick, making them specific is important. Goals that are too vague will set you up for failure. Here’s how to set specific goals.
For example, if one of your personal goals is to drink more water per day, “I will drink more water every day” is too general. Lack of specifics enables you to make excuses. This isn’t a detailed plan to help you follow through. Instead, clarify the specifics. Answering questions about your goal pinpoints your intention and narrows down the specifics.
Answer the 5 W’s to Set Specific Goals
Answer the 5 W’s of basic information gathering: who, what, when, where, and why. Answering these five questions will help you develop clarity and motivation for your goal. Answer these five questions to fine tune your goal:
- Who will this goal involve?
- What exactly do I want to accomplish?
- When do I want to accomplish this goal?
- Where will you achieve this goal?
- Why is this goal important to me?
After answering these questions, your goal will look something like, “I will drink 8 glasses of water every day – 2 glasses of water first thing in the morning, two glasses with lunch, two glasses after I hit the gym, and two glasses before bed to get healthier. This goal is specific and direct. It explicitly states what your expectations are for yourself and enables tracking/accountability.
Another example of a goal without detail and focus is “I will exercise more.” This goal is positive and relevant but lacks specifics. Answering the 5 W’s will provide the specifics you need to set meaningful, constructive goals you will achieve. After answering these questions, you will end up with a goal that sounds more like, “I will exercise at the gym for 45 minutes, every weekday morning before starting work.” This statement is a detailed plan for what, where, how and when you intend to follow through with your plan. These details will ensure your goal’s success more than the original vague statement.
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