Weatherford Democrat

March 24, 2013

EXTENSION NEWS: SMART goals aim to help you achieve your goals


Weatherford Democrat

— By KATHY SMITH

Take a few minutes to dream. Dreams are important; because they help you know what you want to do with your life. 

Your dreams become the basis for your goals or what you are striving to achieve. Every person needs dreams. They are a picture of what your future should look like. Maybe it is your goal to take a vacation to somewhere special, to buy a home or to retire. You must then take steps to reach these goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed faraway and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build yourself image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals. 

Financial goals will vary in length. They can include short-term goals up to three years, midterm goals three to 10 years or long-term goals eight years or more.

No matter if the goal is short term or long, every goal must be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time related. SMART are characteristics to goal developed by Paul J. Meyer in his book, “Attitude is Everything.”

• Specific – A specific goal has much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the follow:

Who – is involved?

What – do I want to accomplish?

Where – is the location?

When – establish a time frame.

Which – identify requirements and constraints.

Why – reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

• Measurable – establish concrete criteria for measuring progress towards the attainment of each goal you set. To determine your goal is measurable, ask questions such as How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

• Attainable – when you identify goals that are important to you, you begin to decide ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitude, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them.

• Realistic – a goal must represent an objective toward which you are willing and able to work with. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished.

• Time Related – a goal must have a target date. If you have the goal to lose weight, buy a house or to make a million dollars, but don’t set a timeline for it, it won’t be motivating. A deadline too far in the future is too easily put off. A goal that’s set too close is not only unrealistic, but also discouraging.

Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Parker County. Contact her at (817) 598-6168 or kl-smith@tamu.edu.