You might have heard of S.M.A.R.T goals before in business or in school. They're considered the gold standard for helping people be successful in achieving their goals. It's a term that was coined by George T. Doran in the early 80s as a corporate management strategy, but is used widely across a range of endeavours. Basically S.M.A.R.T stands for the following;
- Specific: You don’t want your goals to be vague. Making them specific will help you focus and provide direction in designing a plan to achieve your goal. Define the goal for yourself and, if possible, break it down into sections when outlining your strategy. Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish.
- Measurable: Goals need to be measurable to ensure that you can track and quantify your success in meeting them. Consider how to assess the achievement of your goal and determine what kind of performance metrics are applicable. When you’ve created steps or tasks, you can easily keep track of progress and completion.
- Achievable: Don’t set yourself up for failure! Creating a goal that is too lofty or unachievable will not help you move forward with confidence. Consider goals that have manageable timelines and are realistic, given your other personal and professional responsibilities.
- Relevant: Align your goals with all areas of your life and make sure they are relevant to your overall situation and outlook. Your commitment to reaching your goals is related to their pertinence in your life. If this is a personal goal, is everyone in your household on board? For professional goals, be sure to loop in your co-workers for support.
- Timely: Create a timeline to help focus on when you will meet your goal. Set up a schedule and create reminders for yourself on a calendar, send yourself emails, or even use sticky notes to help you stay organized and on track with deadlines.
Goal setting is known to be a powerful motivator toward getting what you want. SMART goals help ballroom dancers define exactly what they want to achieve, how they are going to do it, when they will complete it by and why it is important. But what goals might you want to achieve in your dancing this year?
S - Specific
The more detailed you can get, the better! Break your goal down into smaller pieces and choose one or two things to really hone in on this next year. This will help you stay focused on the vision! You can’t work towards an unspecific goal, or a vague, overly-generalized goal. Trying will only set you up for failure and frustration because you don’t have a clear idea as to what exactly you need to do.
Non Specific Goals include;
- I want to be fitter
- I want so socialise more
- I want to dance better
Specific Goals would be goals such as;
- I want to be able to dance a social jive in Thursday's class without losing my breath
- I want to find a group of friends in my own age group to catch up with for regular social events outside of dancing
- I'd like to enter a competition and place in the top 10 in my event.
M - Measurable
Making sure your goal is measurable comes into play when you are tracking your progress. Goals take time to accomplish. Detailed tracking can help make small victories feel like big ones. Now that you’ve made your goal specific, you need to be able to track your progress, to measure it. Making a measurable goal is so important because it keeps us accountable, helps us stay on track towards achieving it, and helps encourage us when we see small amounts of progress being made. For some fitness goals you might want to check in with your doctor/ medical and allied health professional for both a baseline and then to help keep track of your improvement over time. For other goals like meeting more people, you might keep a diary of social events you have attended. You can make a goal measurable is by giving it a quantity –I will do X amount of Y. This is much more helpful than just saying, “I need to do more of Y,” because it gives you something to aim for.
A - Achievable.
A smart goal has to be realistic –it has to be something that we can actually attain, otherwise, it won’t happen. Is this goal something that’s within my reach? Is it something that won’t compromise my safety or health? Is it accomplishable? This one is all about making sure that your goal is realistic by taking into account where you’re at now vs. where you want to be by the end of your goal setting period. Make sure you can really make your goal happen! There is no point setting a goal to attend every class for a month, but know you have children with sporting events that often clash with your classes.
R - Relevant
Making sure that your specific goal is directly related to a bigger picture goal is important. This will keep your motivation and focus on point when things get difficult. This step is important to consider because it takes into account the “why” of it all. Is your goal relevant in regards to what you want to improve? For example if your goal involves flexibility it’s important to be aware of what achieving greater flexibility can do for you as a dancer. Maybe you’ll be able to hold your leg for 10 seconds in your Gold Rumbe introduction or maybe you will finally touch your toes easily to be able to buckle your dance shoes.
T is for Timely
Creating a timeline with checkpoints, reminders, and even deadlines will help you really take action. Make a plan and stick with it!
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