30 min - Individual - Indoor - Outdoor - Onetime
The S.M.A.R.T. protocol offers a guide to help steer you towards setting goals that are suited to your abilities.
Properly thought out and stated, SMART goals clearly set out your intentions and desires; the things you really want to achieve. Research by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham found that in 90 percent of studies done on goal setting, setting goals that are difficult to achieve leads to higher performance than setting easy goals. Goals can significantly influence performance by giving individuals a sense of purpose, strategy, and organized effort.

How to do it

SMART is a great exercise to do once you have an idea of your goals. Use the SMART acronym to assess how acheiveable your goals are.

  • S is for Specific: t’s important to be as specific as possible when setting goals. This can make the difference between knowing what you are aiming for and how you’ll get there versus being frustrated in the face of a seemingly insurmountable or open-ended goal. Specificity in goal-setting can be achieved by looking at the what, why, where, when and how of a goal. What do I want to achieve? How will I get there? When should I have achieved this goal by?
  • M is for Measurable: Having a goal which can be quantified in some way makes it a lot easier to track your progress. Consider a ‘get fitter’ goal, how does one know when peak fitness has been achieved? We could be on the treadmill forever not knowing if our goal has been realized. Amending the goal to, ‘I want to get fitter so that I can take part in a half marathon’ makes the goal more explicit, allowing for the continued evaluation of our progress towards achievement.
  • A is for Achievable/Attainable: Is the goal you have set actually achievable? Whilst humans are industrious, innovative, beings with massive potential for achievement, the goals we set need to be grounded in reality lest we set ourselves up for disappointment. Working with the same ‘get fitter’ example, if you’ve never exercised in your life or perhaps suffer from some impairment to lower-body mobility it would be unrealistic to set a goal of say ‘get fit enough to run an ultra-marathon by next week’. Finding a balance between the effort required and the challenge posed can be tricky, the reward gained from goal attainment must be worth the effort put in.
  • R is for Relevant: Here we focus more intently on the subjective ‘why’. Is the goal you’ve set something you actually want to achieve or does it stem from some external pressure? Do you really want to double the efficiency of your department at work? Would running a marathon provide fulfillment for you personally? Like the dog chasing the car, when you finally reach your goal, is it going to be something you relish or will it represent an ineffective conclusion?
  • T is for Time-specific: Deadlines maximize the reward versus time component of achieving a goal. For example, ‘get fit enough to run a half marathon by the end of summer’ includes a clear yet achievable timescale. Setting a deadline that requires frantic learning or training in order to scramble towards a goal can turn the otherwise positive experience of setting goals into an unnecessarily stressful endeavor.

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