How to Set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals (Part 3): M is for Meaningful
In yesterday’s blog post, I discussed the importance of setting Specific goals. In today’s post I will show why it beneficial to set Meaningful goals.
In the traditional acronym, M stands for measureable. However, I include this idea in “A” for “Action Plan.” Choosing a goal that is personally meaningful to you is critical for your success. If you set a goal merely out of obligation or guilt, you will probably give up before it is accomplished. For example, if you set a goal to lose 30 pounds because your spouse or doctor is nagging you, you won’t have the resolve to stick with it. It needs to be a goal that you personally desire to achieve.
In order to succeed, you will need to take consistent action. This can be challenging because all of us live in a world of competing time demands. Focusing on the rewards and benefits is like gasoline for a car engine. Focusing on rewards that are truly meaningful to you will help you overcome inertia and discouragement.
Take the time to think about all the reasons why you want to achieve your goal. I call this, “finding your big why.” Part of having a meaningful, satisfying life is adopting and working towards meaningful goals.
I encourage you to write down all the benefits you will receive from achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to jog three times per week, you might list the following benefits: weight loss, improved fitness, stress management, better sleep, more energy, improved insulin function, etc.
How will you benefit once you achieve this goal? Will your health improve? Will your relationships be deeper and more loving? If your goal is to eliminate your credit card debt, will you experience less stress? Or perhaps you will be able to finally buy a home or take a nice vacation with your family.
How will others benefit when you achieve your goal? I have observed that people will often work harder on their goals and be more persistent if they know that their goals will be beneficial for their children. For example, if I lose 40 pounds, I will be able to play soccer with my children. I will also be a good role model to encourage them to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
It can also be motivating to think about what might happen if you don’t accomplish your goal. How would you feel if you didn’t achieve your goal? What might be the long-term consequences to your health? How might your relationships suffer?
Is your goal in line with your values? Is it something you truly want, or is it something that you’ve decided to pursue because you’re being pressured by someone else?