Portland Therapy Blog

Portland Therapy Blog

Local experts share the latest information and resources on all things mental health.

A Guide to Setting SMART Goals

Posted: March 16, 2014 by Keith Jackson

Many people set goals, but not everyone achieves them. There are infinite reasons why people don’t reach their goals. This article won’t focus on that. This article will give you some useful guidelines for when you are establishing goals. These guidelines, outlined using the acronym SMART, will enhance your ability to set goals that can be successfully achieved.

SPECIFIC Make your goal as specific as possible. A highly specific goal gives your unconscious mind something to work with. It your unconscious mind that creates the image of what you desire. If you set an unspecific goal, it is difficult to conceptualize what you want. For example, someone may say I want a good job. It sounds good, but what is a good job? Another example would be someone who says that want to get married. It is too general. What kind of person do you want to marry? What faith or religious background would you want your spouse to be?

MEASURABLE Your goal should be something that you can monitor to check your progress. This is very important because it can be used to motivate you. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 pounds, you might weigh yourself on a weekly basis to see if you are moving closer to your goal.

ACHIEVABLE The more achievable you make your goal, the easier it is to believe that you can accomplish it. Some people set goals that are beyond their abilities, setting themselves up for failure.

REALISTIC In addition to your goal being achievable, it should also be realistic. This can be highly subjective. Ask yourself what you are capable of achieving. If you have problems figuring that out, go to someone you trust and ask their opinion.

TIMELY All goals should have a time-limit. Assigning a timeline to your goal forces you to have a sense of urgency and not procrastinate.

If you carefully consider all the SMART steps when setting your goals, you have a much higher chance of accomplishing what you set out to do.

About the Author: Keith Jackson, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist in Portland, OR. You can find out more about his practice by visiting his website or checking out his profile.

Tags: addiction and behavior