SMARTER Goals for Success

Why set SMARTER goals?

According to a study by Strava of over 800 million activities, most people who had new years resolutions will abandon them by January 19th. Although, we don't have to wait until a new year to set goals for ourselves, the way that we set the goals can have a big impact on our ability to achieve them.

In fact, research has shown that using the SMART goal formula makes it more likely that goals will be accomplished. When I set goals with my clients, I like to go above and beyond the SMART goal format. The addition of "ER", I have found has been very helpful to many people. Read below to learn more about what SMARTER Goals are and how you can implement them in your life. If you're finding your goals are overwhelming you and you don't know where to start, reach out to Holistic Healing Counselling. 

What does SMARTER stand for?

The word SMARTER Goals is an acronym which can help you set goals which are set up in a way which makes you more likely to be able to achieve it. SMARTER stands for:

  • S - specific
  • M - measurable
  • A - achievable
  • R - realistic
  • T - time-based
  • E - extra
  • R - responsible

When each element is used in one goal, you create a goal which you are much more likley to achieve.

How do I build SMARTER Goals?

So, how do you make sure to create SMARTER goals? Below we will go through each letter so you can begin to start making your SMARTER goal.

Specific in this case means, while setting your goal be as specific as possible. You want to describe your goal in a way that doesn't leave room for any ambiguity. A good way to know that you are being specific is that you are using action words and describing your goal with enough details that someone with no context of what you are saying would understand.

Measurable means that you state your goal in a way that can be measured. When we have goals that can be measured, this allows us to concreately understand if we are moving towards our goal. The measurable component answers this question, how will you know when your goal has been reached?

Achievable refers to double checking that your goal is something that is achievable by you. So once you have stated a goal, ask yourself, does this goal deal with parts of my life which I have control over? If the answer is yes, then you have set a goal that can be achieved. If the answer is that you only have some control then you need to identify who or what else has control over the outcome of this goal. If it is another person, setting a joint SMARTER goal maybe an option. 

Realistic simply is asking yourself the question, is this a goal which is realistic for me to accomplish in the time I've set for myself. If the answer is no, that is ok! Can you go back and break up your goal into smaller, more realistic parts so that you can identify a road map of SMART goals to get you to your original goal? In this part, don't forget any hurdles that you might need to overcome to achieve your goals. When you think of potential roadblocks first, you can help yourself ensure you are setting a realistic goal.

Extra is one that I find to be really essential. Research has shown that we are more likley to accomplish goals when they are adding something into our lives instead of taking something away. This relates back to being specific in a way. When we seek to take something away from our life, there often are numerous ways to achieve it, which makes the goal not specific enough. So for example, if you've identified that in your parenting you have started yelling and would like that behaviour to stop, the goal of stop yelling at my child would not be a goal that checks of our requirement of extra. Instead, making the goal, when I feel like I want to yell, I will take 5 minutes to calm down. You might have more than SMART goal you have to support the original thought of taking something away and that's ok. In fact, that is the point! When we seek to take something away in our life, we often are actually trying to fulfill 10 or more SMART goals at once. In this way, we feel dissappointed when we do not do it. When we break it up to each extra thing needed, we are not only more likely to achieve the original thought but we create many moments where we are following through on our SMARTER goals, giving us more success, moments of celebration, and therefore motivation.

Responsible means that your SMARTER goal is more impactful when you have someone in your life to share it with. Who can you be responsible with for this goal? This could be someone who has the same SMARTER goal and you do it together. It could also be someone important in your life who you confide in who you can share your SMARTER goal with. Many client's have had our therapists be that person for them. Whoever you choose, have someone who knows about your SMARTER Goal. The connection within the goal not only helps you be more likley to achieve it but it also sets the ground for so many pieces which are important to your healing such as authenticity, reciprical relationships, connection, acceptance, and vulnerability.

Getting started

Now that you know how to build a goal which, by its design, will help you achieve what you want to achieve you can start brainstorming. This might mean changing current goals to fit the SMARTER goal format or it might mean creating new goals entirely. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed book a free consultation. 

Holistic Healing Counselling can help you to set SMARTER goals and deal with the roadblock that might be standing in your way.

Welcome to Holistic Healing

Welcome to Holistic Healing

Meet our certified therapists, Adam, Selena, Danielle, and Shaheen. No matter what you want to work on, we have a therapist to help. Our Counsellors focus on helping you feel at ease by allowing you to feel heard and understood. By using a holistic, or whole picture approach, our trained Counsellors can help their patients live a happier, more authentic life. Our therapists offer adult counselling, couples counselling, and adolescent/teen counselling. Interested in learning more? Need to book a session? Contact Us here.


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