Live Your Dreams with SMART Goals

We all have dreams. Whether they’re related to our careers, relationships, wellness, finances, or bucket-list type fantasies, it can be helpful to set goals in order to live out our dreams.

Sometimes we really want to do something, but we’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. It’s good to get a game plan together before launching into a new endeavor.

Here are some steps to help get things started:

1.Create your vision. Figure out what you want and why you want it. What will this look like? Write it down.

2. Make a SMART goal:
Specific- It’s important to focus in on what exactly it is you want to accomplish. No grey area.
Measureable- Be able to measure your success.
Attainable- Make the goal realistically achievable.
Relevant- Make sure the goal matters and it’s something that is worth your
time, energy and resources.
Timely- How long will it take to achieve the goal? Make sure you’re up for the time commitment.

Here are some examples of SMART goals:

  • If you have a vision of running a 5k, start with, “Beginning this week, I will start a couch to 5k plan, which includes walking/running three days each week for eight weeks.”
  • If you have a vision of relaxing by reading more, you might say, “I will read one book each month for the next twelve months.”
  • If you and your spouse have a vision of a successful marriage and you want to make more time for each other, you might set a goal such as, “My spouse and I will schedule a date night each month.”
  • If you want to save up for a trip to Europe, start with, “I will automatically put $200 per paycheck into a savings account for Europe for the next nine months.”

Plan3. Plan/prepare. Decide how you will accomplish your goal. From this point on, I’m going to use the, “Beginning this week, I will start a couch to 5k plan, which includes walking/running three days each week for eight weeks” goal for my examples:

  • At the beginning of each week, I will decide which three days I will walk/run and mark them on my calendar.
  • I will run as soon as I get home from work, and I will have my running shoes and clothes ready.

4. Anticipate obstacles and figure out how to overcome them:

  • Obstacle: Poor weather.
  • Answer: I will check the weather at the beginning of the week to see which days are best to run. I will also be flexible and run at a different time if necessary. I have the option of running on my treadmill indoors if I have to, as well.
  • Obstacle: Conflict of schedule.
  • Answer: I will set aside a fourth day of the week where I could run if I run into a conflict on one of my three set running days.

Tools to Help You Stay Motivated:

  • Find a buddy for accountability. I’ll ask my neighbor to run with me. I’ll talk with my spouse about taking this time to run so he can plan for this. I’ll share my goal with my coworker and ask him to ask me about my runs each week.
  • Write down the goal/plan and track progress. I’ll write down my vision, SMART goal, and the ways I’m going to accomplish my goal. I’ll keep it on my fridge where I can see it daily. I’ll mark the days I plan to run on my calendar and highlight the days I go.
  • Reward. After one month of running, I will get a fun new water bottle. The week of the 5k, I’ll get some new running shorts. Completing the 5k will be its own reward!

It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we set our minds to it. Even dreams that seem impossible can be realized when broken down into smaller goals with baby steps. Usually, the hardest part is to start. Once the mind is made up, the goal is set, and a plan is created, the other pieces come together. There will still be work involved, no doubt. But you can totally handle it. You got this!


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