SMART Goals: from Waves--Not Spoons

SMART Goals: from Waves--Not Spoons

In applying the Waves model to goal setting, we can strive to make the most of your available energy by eliminating activities that are not aligned with our values and goals.

One popular model for goal setting is to strive for SMART Goals. SMART Goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed.

Specific – No generalizations. “I will be a writer,” is not specific. “I will write a book about relationships,” is specific.

Measurable – The goal should be quantifiable. “I will be rich,” is not measurable. “I will have $100,000 in my savings account,” is measurable.

Attainable – The goal should be attainable (in the real world). “I will own Hawaii”, is probably not attainable. “I will own a 120 foot Yacht,” is probably attainable.

Realistic – The goal should be realistic for the individual. “I will own a 120 foot Yacht,” is probably attainable if my plan involves becoming the CEO of a Major company. But if my life plan is to become a teacher or police officer, owning a 120 foot Yacht is probably not realistic.

Timed – All achievements exist in time. Valid goals must have a time limit. “I want to go fishing someday,” is a wish— not a goal. “I ’m going fishing next Tuesday,” is a goal.

To avoid frustration, a sense of failure, and possible burnout, it is critical that we time our goals to allow for periods of rest and recharge.

One way to test our goals and avoid unpleasant surprises is to review our current and set new ones at least once a week.

This weekly review is a good time to test your goals for emotional resistance or lack of commitment. 

If a goal feels overwhelming or does not feel right, we may need to ask the three procrastination questions. We should take a few minutes in the evening to review the progress we made on our goals for the day, make adjustments if needed, and review our goals for the next day.

Surprises and sudden plot twists are great for movies but not for projects and goals. Weekly and daily reviews or our goals help prevent or limit surprises. They also help us make the necessary adjustments when needed.

• SMART Goal Visualization

  1. Select a time when you can sit comfortably and will not be disturbed for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Close your eyes and imagine yourself floating. 
  3. Imagine your life as a series of waves extending from the present, back into the past and out into your future.
  4. Visualize one of your SMART Goals.
  5. Visualize the goal as the end result—the point at which you can look back on and know you have achieved your goal.
  6. Allow yourself to feel strong feelings of success, accomplishment, pride and contribution as you picture achievement of your goal.
  7. Intensify your goal by breathing three strong breaths into the image of your goal. See it grow bigger, brighter, and stronger.
  8. Take your goal and float it up and out into your future to the point in time at which you see yourself completing your goal.
  9. Remember, the timing of your goals should allow for periods of rest and recharge. 
  10. Drop your goal into your future. Hear it lock into place. 
  11. Turn around facing the past and return to the present.
  12. Repeat the above steps for each goal on your list. Add, remove, and replace goals as needed.

Remember to always trust your feelings and your gut. 

This does not mean to abandon a goal because of resistance or reluctance. 

It does mean to not ignore the feelings and instincts. It means to re-examine that goal with those three procrastination questions.


Click here for more of Waves—Not Spoons: 101 Strategies for Managing Our Physical, Emotional, and Social Energy. 

  • Tags: anxiety, goal-setting

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