Dreams are important but they’re not the same as goals. Goals (when written well), like dreams, are aspirational – but they’re also more specific. While a dream may be the roof of a building, goals are the steps and landings of the stairwell. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, your goal trajectory might be: start fueling your body with healthy foods, find a training program, start participating in a training program and choose a race to register for, etc. While the goals laid out are good, we can make them stronger by using the SMART Goals method.
A “specific” goal is a goal that has a little more depth to it. It isn’t saying “I want to run a marathon”, it’s saying “I want to run the 2023 Boston Marathon.” Specificity is important so that you know exactly what needs to be done to be able to achieve that goal.
A “measurable” goal is one that is based on some sort of metric. Instead of saying “I want to be able to run a mile”, a measurable goal would be: “I want to be able to run a mile in ten minutes.”
An “attainable” goal is one that you can reasonably accomplish. We tend to get over-zealous with our goals when we are excited and passionate. However, setting goals that we won’t be able to accomplish doesn’t make sense for anyone. It’s more important to be realistic than too aspirational here. Break down larger goals if you need to, in order to accomplish them. For example: if your big goal is to do a triathlon, but aren’t very athletic yet, your smaller and more attainable goal would be to learn to swim well or run well. As you attain certain goals and get better at something, a new goal may become more attainable.
A “relevant” goal helps you progress to your dream. If you are trying to beat the record boards at the Boston Marathon; it doesn’t make sense to waste your valuable time learning Kung Fu. It may be useful and important to you, but in this case, it doesn’t help you reach your dream or goals.
A “time-bound” goal is important so that you can keep yourself accountable. Making goals time-bound helps to make sure you are on track to achieve your goal. With goals you may have daily, monthly and yearly goals. You need to be very specific with the dates you choose and make sure that you can accomplish the goal without creating unreasonable stress.
One SMART goal for an aspiring, physically fit, person may look something like this:
“By April 17th 2023 I want to participate in the Boston Marathon and finish the race in four hours.”
Was this “specific”? Yes. They didn’t just say that they want to run a marathon. They specifically said “I want to run the 2023 Boston Marathon on April 17th.”
Was this “measurable”? Yes. By setting a goal to complete the Boston Marathon in 4 hours, it is measurable.
Was this “attainable”? Yes. Assuming this athlete made this goal in 2021 and that they are already physically fit, this gives them enough time to prepare for the marathon.
Was this “relevant”? Yes. Being an athlete you should want to push yourself. The average runner’s time for a marathon is 4 hours and 21 minutes. So this athlete is trying to better themselves by beating the average time.
Was this “time-bound”? Yes. By saying “April 17th 2023, I want to run the Boston Marathon”. The goal is positively time-bound.
Together, SMART goals help guide us to achieve our dreams. If you have a dream or goal that you would like help with, like getting back up on the bike, perfecting your running form or even getting rid of the cane, our encouraging Physical Therapists can help. Give Sportscare or Armworks a call or request an appointment online.