Everything important about S.M.A.R.T. Goals

I’m following an Udemy course about smart goals. And I decided to note some ideas. The course is short, just 31 minutes.

SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant And Time-bound.

Regarding specificity we need to define three concepts: vision, resolution and goal. The vision is shaped out of an ideal future state so its image never changes. Examples of visions are curing the world of cancer or ending world hunger so a vision has an end point. The next concept is resolution. Unlike vision, the resolution does not have an outcome. Examples of resolutions are to be wealthy or to be healthy. And unlike resolutions the goals have a specific outcome: become a millionaire or run a marathon. The goals are consistent with resolutions. Both goals and visions have a specific outcome but the difference is that a goal can change with time. For higher odds of success it is better to set goals that are specific and challenging.

In respect to the measurability we have outcome measurement and performance measurement. An outcome measurement would be to weight 90 kilograms. A performance measure would be to eat less than 2000 calories a day. It seems many people (like me) write the outcome measure without writing the performance measure and this results to poor performance. I updated my goals with milestones for each outcome (to track better outcome measure) and one performance for each like work at it one time per week (to track better the performance measure).

Attainable goals implies to establish initial actions and milestones.

Relevant goals is the mechanism used to allow juggling between multiple goals. A method for managing them is to use the Pareto principle: what are the 20% of your goals that will bring 80% of results?

Time bound goals introduce a few concepts. First of them is action feedback loops: the feedback needs to be frequent enough to keep us motivated. Shorter and frequent feedback is the most effective. The next concept is the planning fallacy: we tend to overestimate our abilities and underestimate time and resources. A method to avoid planning fallacy is to base our estimates on past performance.

Common errors when setting goals: not writing them down, too many goals, goals in only one area of life, not keeping the goals visible, not establishing stretch goals, not identifying the next action of the goal (it is best to devise the goals into sets of actions) and last not aligning goals with the vision.

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