Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Just because we have a goal doesn’t mean that we will achieve it. Many goals are never achieved simply because they are sloppy. How can we clean up our goals and help others to do the same? By making what is commonly known as S.M.A.R.T. goals.*
When we create S.M.A.R.T goals and help others do likewise we are bringing clarity and force to otherwise vague and powerless desires. Here are the five components of a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
First, the goal must be specific. It must nail down a precise area for change or growth.
“I want to be a better husband” is not specific, but “I want to lead my wife in morning devotional time more frequently this month” is specific. If a goal isn’t specific, it won’t be reached.
Second, the goal must be measurable. How are you going to be able to track your progress or results?
“I want us to pray more as a Small Group” isn’t measurable. “I want to make sure we have at least thirty minutes of prayer time at each Small Group gathering” is measurable. You need to know when you’ve reached your goal.
Third, the goal has to be attainable. No one is helped by grandiose desires that will never be achieved. Instead, you want to make sure your goal is possible, even if it is challenging.
Perhaps you won’t be able to “share the gospel with one hundred people this month,” but you could “have spiritual conversations about my faith with three people this month.”
The goal doesn’t have to be minimal; in fact, a challenging goal is motivating. It just needs to be realistic.
Fourth, the goal must be relevant to the goal-setter. Does this goal resonate with who you are and what you’re wanting?
For instance, stating “I am going to help my kids get involved in a sports team” probably won’t help you if you’re a homebody whose desire is to spend more time with your kids. Instead, the goal should change to focus on how you and the children can spend more quality time engaged with one another (not just with an external activity or other people).
Don’t shoot for goals that you don’t care about—even if it sounds good on paper.
Finally, the goal should be time-specific. It needs a starting and ending point.
Stating when you are going to begin and/or when you are going to finish establishes the parameters for the goal. It lets you and others know when you get to step back and evaluate if your S.M.A.R.T. goal has been achieved.