Alice came to a fork in the road. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” She asked.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” responded the Cheshire cat

“I don’t much care where –” Alice answered

“Then” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

When it comes to accomplishing our life’s goals, many of us are like Alice. Because we don’t know exactly where we want to go, we end up drifting, in and out of jobs, of relationships; life happens to us rather than us intentionally pursuing the life we want.

The difference between a wish and a goal is that a wish is in your head and a goal is written down. I cannot stress enough the importance of having written goals, and the SMART Goal framework of goal setting is the best approach to goal setting that I have come across.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. When you write out your goals, make sure they are:

Specific – A specific goal answers the questions: who, what, when, and where.

Measurable – How are you going to measure progress and success?

Attainable – Is this goal possible given your resources, abilities, and timeframe?

Relevant – Is this goal important to you? Relevant goals are important goals that will help you move in the right direction.

Time-bound – What is the deadline?

An example of a goal that is NOT S.M.A.R.T. is “I want to get in good shape.”

An example of turning this into a S.M.A.R.T. goal is “I want to weigh 199 pounds and have less

than 13% body fat by June 12th, 2013. This is important to me because when I am lean and fit, I

have better self-confidence and can be a better father, husband, and leader at work.”

Exercise: Write out one of more S.M.A.R.T goals in each of the following five areas of your life: Career, Financial, Personal, Family, and Fitness.

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  • […] In the past I have set New Year’s resolutions such as, I’m gonna lose weight and get back in shape and assumed that was good enough. That’s a horrible goal. It’s so vague that it’s almost meaningless. What does get in shape mean? How much weight? By when? Is that achievable based on what I’m willing to sacrifice in order to accomplish it? Instead, each goal should fit the SMART criteria. […]

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