Welcome to the third installment in my five-part series about SMART goals! Let’s recap;
You’ve now clearly defined your goals, you’ve narrowed them down to be as specific as possible. You’ve identified the “road signs” or metrics that you’ll track along the way to let you know whether or not you’re on the right path, when you need to keep going, or when you need to pull over, grab the map and course correct.
Now the next step in the SMART goal framework is assessing whether or not the goal is achievable. You might be saying to yourself, “of course they are achievable, I can do anything I set out to do.”
This isn’t about self-confidence or doubting your abilities. This is about making sure your goals are realistic so you’re not sabotaging yourself before you even start.
Say you want to drive from Los Angeles to New York City and you set a goal to do this over one night. When I did a quick Google search, I found that it will take roughly 43 hours to drive from California to New York. Even if one did drive over one night without stopping, the math doesn’t compute. And face it, even the fastest driver and most energetic person needs to stop and sleep (and eat, and, well, go!). When taking a road trip, one must also consider detours, traffic and car trouble; three possible roadblocks not in the driver’s control.
Imagine if a driver set out to do this without thinking through the reality of the situation. After 12 hours, along with some major red-eye, the driver will likely be very tired, and quite discouraged, seeing that they are nowhere near New York City. Maybe they will give up and turn around. Maybe they are so discouraged that they never attempt a road trip again.
You get the idea. It’s important to feel challenged when setting your goals, but it should not be impossible to attain. You should have to work hard to achieve your goal, but not be fighting an uphill battle against factors which you cannot influence.
When thinking about the goals you are planning, are they achievable? Are there hidden factors out of your control? Are there significant outcomes which you may not be able to overcome?
Stay tuned for the 4th installment in the series and keep driving!
Photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via http://www.unsplash.com