Smart Goal Setting

Smart Goal Setting

The beginning of a new year is traditionally the time when new resolutions are made particularly with regard to health and fitness. But how many of those resolutions are actually kept or accomplished? Maybe what we need is a change of terminology that unlike ‘resolutions’ doesn’t set us up for failure. After all, a ‘resolution,’ such as getting healthy is rather vague whereas a ‘goal’ might be more appropriate as it implies something more specific.



In order for goals to translate into motivation and improved performance, goals must be specific.
A goal to just jump higher is too general. Instead, an example of a specific goal would be to improve your high jump by three inches.


Goals must be measurable to be able to provide progress feedback and to know when the goal is achieved.
Three inches (and increments below, between, and above) are both measurable and specific in order for the high jumper to be able to gauge his progress and achievement. Therefore, instead of the goal being improve high jump by three inches, the jumper’s goal could be to increase high jump from 64 inches to 67 inches.


A goal must be assignable to an individual or a group.
Because high jumping is an individual goal, the high jumper would assign this goal to himself – or perhaps the high jumper’s coach might assign this goal to the jumper.


The goal must be challenging, yet realistic.
Lowering the bar for a high jumper could not realistically increase motivation nor enhance performance. Similarly, setting a goal to raise the bar ten feet is not a realistic or attainable goal and would therefore not positively affect motivation or performance.


In order for goals to positively affect motivation and performance, goals must be time-related.
For the high jumper, he may set a time within three months which may provide a realistic time frame to meet his goal. However, a time line of tomorrow may make achieving the goal unrealistic. Similarly, before I’m forty may be a time line that is so far into the future and lacks urgency and motivation.


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