How smart goals can help you achieve success

Many of us have things in our lives that we would like to be different from how they are today. 

When it comes to our health and wellbeing, many of us have good intentions. Perhaps we would like to be slim enough to fit into a favourite outfit in time for Christmas, or fit enough to complete a Parkrun.

When there’s a gap between where we are now and where we want to be, we need to make changes that start slowly and progress over time.

But change is hard. And sometimes, good intentions alone are not enough.

We start. hope we will succeed, but it’s so easy to go back to how we’ve always done it. 

We may also be influenced by others, who make it look so easy. And we get distracted and discouraged and forget why we started to make changes in the first place. 

Making small-but-cumulative changes can significantly improve our lives, even save our lives in some cases. So whether your own future hopes are large or small, they are worth fighting for.

How can setting personal goals help us achieve success?

The goal is a vision for an area of your life that has an end result - what you see when you arrive at your destination.

You may have experience of setting professional goals at work, but have you considered setting goals in your personal lives?

Having goals can give us an increased sense of purpose and direction. When we want things to change, goals can help us get where we want to get to, a bit like a map! 

Turning our ‘good intentions’ into goals can help us increase our chances of making the changes we want to make and set us up for success. Which means goals can help us achieve greater discipline and self-control and help us become healthier and happier. 

It’s time to get SMART

Making your goals ‘intelligent’ or SMART, makes them an even more effective. The word SMART spells out 5 important hallmarks of these super-powerful types of goal.

SMART goals are: 

  • Specific

You need to know exactly what you want to accomplish - “I want to be more active” becomes “I want to take part in my local park run.” 

  • Measurable

You need to know how you will measure success, so you can monitor your progress. SMART goals often (though not always) involve numbers. “I want to lose weight” becomes “I want to lose 10lbs.” 

  • Achievable / Actionable

Some of us find ourselves tempted to set goals that are unattainable, no matter how much effort we put in. SMART goals should involve enough challenge to stretch us, but not break us!

It’s also best when we are able to take action towards our goals through our own behaviour, as setting goals that depend on the behaviour of others can lead to frustration and disappointment.

  • Relevant

The goal needs to be relevant to you. Challenging yourself to give up chocolate for Lent when you don’t even like chocolate, arguably isn't a goal worth setting.

  • Time Focussed

A goal is a dream with a deadline. Every goal needs a date, so when could you realistically plan to achieve yours?

Setting SMART goals help us set well thought-out targets and gives us a map, with something meaningful to aim for. They help stay on track - and know when we're not on track! They help us manage distractions and temptations, deal with obstacles, keep us moving forwards and (this is really important!) celebrate on the way!

Can you identify one change you might like to make in your own life?

This month, in our Angels Community, we’ll help you identify and start working towards something that matters, by setting a SMART goal that's meaningful to you. You’ll get access to this month’s worksheet and our team, via our monthly webinar, so we can help you start moving from where you are, to where you want to be.

If you want some extra support and encouragement to help you make the changes you want to make, why not join our online Angels Community? This month’s worksheet contains a useful exercise to help you get started with your own personal goal setting and our live 30 minute webinar on Tuesday 15 October will give you a chance to connect with the national Intentional Health Team. We’ll be on hand to help you work on setting SMART goals, so you can start making small changes that will make a big difference.