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Smart Goals: 5 Life Lessons

Last updated on November 2, 2020

What are Smart goals and why do we set them?

Smart goals are a way for us to recognize what we want with personal growth and plan how to get there. They can’t be too broad and are better to be planned in detail. To help plan in detail, the acronym SMART is what will help you. It stands for;

S = Specific

M  = Measurable

A = Acheivable

R  = Relevant

T = Time

We set Smart goals to help us achieve things in our lives we otherwise wouldn’t. They help us move forward and grow into a better version of ourselves. Goals challenge us and show us what we truly are capable of.

Can we make progress if we don’t set goals

If we didn’t have smart goals we would be stuck in the same spot our entire lives. We would never show any progress with personal growth. We would make small strides, as is natural, but nothing life-changing would ever happen. Would you have gotten out of debt or lost that weight without a goal and plan in place?

Very little progress would be made if we didn’t set goals to improve our personal growth. This is because we learn from what happens in our lives around us and this alone changes how we see the world. Smart goals help us learn and change how we see ourselves. They allow us to look deeper into who we are versus who we want to be.

Smart goals help us grow

Growth is a part of life and if smart goals were never set, we would only grow enough to react to the outside world. Growth to the outside world is different from inner growth. Just like the country is different from the big city. You learn to react to your circumstances to survive. Goals teach you how to react to your inner self to grow.

We can only have personal growth when we are ready to. We can’t react to something and grow from the inside. That is only with outer growth. We have to make self-growth happen and we do that by setting goals and accomplishing them. So what 5 life lessons that goals can teach us?

smart goals journaling quote
  1. Self-discipline

Self-discipline comes about as we are accomplishing the smart goal. We create habits that bring us closer to the result. Without those habits, we wouldn’t have achieved the goal we set in place. If it wasn’t for self-discipline we wouldn’t have created those habits.

A lot of the times we only truly need self-discipline when it comes to things we aren’t fond of. Things that do not bring us joy at the moment. Like brushing our teeth when we were kids. We didn’t like doing it, but our parents forced us to and it became a habit as we got older.  Now we have to force ourselves into these habits. Joy will come from the result rather than the action itself.

After dinner chores need to be done before bed. I hate chores, I would rather read, watch tv, talk with my family, play games; anything but chores. However, I liked the clean house. Waking up to the house clean and ready for the day, made the day better from the beginning. I had to have the self-discipline to make myself do the chores in my nightly routine to create that habit.

2. Consistency

Consistency ties in with self-discipline. Just because you have the discipline to do something it won’t become a habit, if you don’t consistently do it. The experts say it takes 21 days to create a habit but 90 days to make it permanent.

This is where consistency comes into play. If you can consistently do something for 21 days, you have just created that new habit. If you can do it for 90 days, it has now become as permanent as brushing your teeth before bed.

What do you do if life gets in the way and you weren’t able to get it done that day? That’s understandable, don’t beat yourself up, and don’t quit. Just acknowledge it was out of your control and start again the next day. One day out of the 21 or the 90 will not backtrack your progress.

3. Good Habits

With self-discipline and consistency, comes good habits. The paths we take to accomplish our smart goals create good habits in our lives. Weight loss goals create good eating habits and exercise routines. Financial goals create better spending habits and stronger financial stability. A goal to get your house organized creates better cleaning routines and sometimes better buy habits.

Creating those habits also teaches us interesting facts that we might not have realized before. Like I learned clutter raises my anxiety and my spending habits didn’t help that. This helped me with my personal growth in more than one area.

I created a wish list section in my bullet journal for me to write down something I thought about buying along with the date. If the item stayed on my lists for more than 2 weeks, and I didn’t think about it again or find the need for it, I crossed it off and didn’t buy it. This not only saved us money but also valuable space in our house.

4. Patience

Smart goals also teach us patience because they don’t happen overnight. You are not making a wish, you are making a plan. Whether it is a short term goal or a long term goal. They both take time. To me, a short term goal is anything up to two years. Long term goals are anything longer than two years.

Another way smart goals teach us patience is in our habit forming stage. You won’t be perfect right out the gate doing something new consistently and instead of beating ourselves up, be patient. Know that you are working hard and that there is always tomorrow.

You wouldn’t get upset with someone else for making a small mistake, so why get upset with yourself. The best gift we can give ourselves when we are trying to grow is patience.

  • Gratitude

One of the last life lessons we learn when setting smart goals and accomplishing them is gratitude. We accept that we don’t have control over everything and become grateful for what we can control. We learn to enjoy life and start looking more towards the positives rather than the daunting tasks ahead.

Gratitude is something we can bring into any smart goal as well. I have a section for it at the beginning of my monthly spread in my bullet journal for gratitude. I am working on finding 3 things a day to be grateful for. It is one of my smart goals. I often am grateful for another goal I have or simple everyday things I used to take for granted. Like waking up to a clean house.

typing smart goals

Getting started with Smart goals

Each year we set up new year resolutions and many of us never follow through with them. These resolutions are just goals by another name. The reason so many of us fail at accomplishing them is that we don’t plan them. Breaking each smart goal or resolution into manageable steps will help get those goals realized.

For example, I have a smart goal next year to lose 60 pounds. I broke that down into 5 pounds a month. Then I created a weekly plan of when I will hit the gym and added walking my dog daily. From there I added that my dinners will be half veggies. I don’t want to overwhelm myself with a full diet overhaul, so I am starting with one meal. The plan is to also cut back on sweets. Eliminating sugar all together would set me up to fail.

Let’s look at that in the SMART goal way. S stands for specific. I want to lose 60 pounds by December 31, 2021. M is measurable, which is 5 pounds a month. A is achievable, I made a plan for exercise and healthy to help me achieve my goal. R is relevant, is this goal relevant to where I am in my life today? Yes, it is, it will help me in my own personal growth. T is time, I have 12 (starting January) months to accomplish this goal. I am using these next couple of months to plan my routine at the gym and my meals.

To start, write what you want from life, it can be anything. Do you want out of debt, that promotion at work, to lose weight, to get your house organized. The possibilities are endless. From there break them down into steps. When do you want them accomplished by, how are you going to do it, is now the right time, and so on. You can do anything you want if you put your mind and determination towards it!

Now go grab that paper and start making your dreams come true!!

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