Are Your Goals SMART Enough?

What are SMART goals? Learn how to achieve your dreams by setting the right kind of goals with Jessica Mohler, sport psychologist at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Soldier Thinking

Want to achieve the impossible? Take the first step by setting the right kind of goals.

Jessica Mohler, sport psychologist at the U.S. Naval Academy, encourages soldiers and athletes to accomplish what they thought was impossible by helping them set SMART goals.

For decades, SMART goals have been used by sport psychologists to help athletes focus on what's most important to them and chart the best path to get there. According to Mohler, a SMART goal is:

1. Specific
Decide the who, what, why, when and where for your goals to keep yourself accountable. Once you've settled on the specifics, write them down and post your goals in a prominent spot as a constant reminder.

2. Measurable
You may want to become a Navy SEAL some day, but what does that mean today? Do you need to lower your body fat percentage? By how much? And how soon? Achieve long-term goals by knowing exactly where you need to be in the short term.

3. Attainable
If you're a runner, winning a track meet may be a great dream, but it's a poor goal since elements of the meet are out of your control. You could break a state record and still lose to someone else running the race of his life that day. Stay motivated by setting goals that are within your reach because they are within your control.

4. Realistic
According to Mohler, the best goals are difficult, but doable. "Specific challenging goals are much more likely to be completed than ones that are vague and easy," she says. Know your limitations, but keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

5. Timed
A timetable sets a plan in motion. Without deadlines, your goals are just words. To stay on track, set realistic short-term goals instead of one ambitious long-term goal. Learn when to be aggressive and when to be patient.

How have you made your goals SMARTer? Let us know on Facebook.


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