4 mins

SMART goals – how to measure progress towards goals

Ready to level up your life and achieve greatness? It’s time to get savvy with setting goals.

Whether you’re looking to conquer your career, transform your health, or unleash your inner potential, goal setting is the ultimate catalyst for success. Coming up, we’ll uncover the secrets of crafting meaningful and attainable goals. 

But first, let’s take a look at why goals are so important.

Simply put, goals are important because they provide our life with meaning, direction and focus. They offer a sense of direction and help us channel our energy towards the things that matter to us. Acting as a roadmap, goals can guide us towards our desired destination and prevent us from getting distracted along the way. Without goals, we might feel aimless in life, uncertain about our purpose or where we’re headed. 

All that said, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start when it comes to setting goals. We might have all kinds of different aspirations but struggle to know how to get there. Or we may even struggle to imagine how things could be any different.

If you find yourself stuck in this position right now, it can help to think of a time in your life when things were better than they are now. Consider a typical day. What were you doing then that you’re not doing now? What kinds of activities were you doing that brought you a sense of fun and achievement? 

Use your answers to guide you towards identifying your goals now.

Once you have a sense of where you’d like to be, SMART is a CBT skill that can help you create a clear and achievable goal while maintaining the motivation to achieve it.

SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Specific.

Let’s take a closer look at what each of these means:

Specific – make your goals clear and well-defined. The more specific a goal is, the easier it’ll be to track progress and evaluate success. For example, “I want to get healthy and exercise more” is too vague. Instead, “I will commit to exercising three times a week for at least 45 minutes, focusing on both cardio and strength training” has a clear objective and is easier to follow.

Measurable – be clear on how you’ll measure your goal’s success. To take the exercise example again, you may want to log each of your workouts or use a fitness tracker or app to monitor your progress. Regularly check-in with your progress along the way and make any necessary adjustments if you find yourself falling behind.

Achievable – ensure you have the necessary resources, skills, and time to make the goal a reality. If not, consider breaking it down into smaller steps.

Relevant – make sure that the goal is meaningful to your current life. Will achieving this goal improve your quality of life right now? If not, consider how you can change it so that it does.

Time-Specific – set a specific timeframe for achieving your goal. Having a clear end date to work towards will help motivate you and prevent procrastination.

But… Setting goals is just the first step. The most crucial part is following through and ensuring that you achieve them.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

Regularly check-in with yourself – be prepared to reflect and learn along the way. Review your progress, and assess what worked well and what didn’t. Use this information to tweak your goals as you move forward.

Adjust as needed – if you find that you’re falling behind, don’t be afraid to adjust your goals as you go along. Flexibility is essential when it comes to goal setting.

Celebrate your milestones – goal setting should be fun and give you a sense of accomplishment. Remember to celebrate your achievements! Not only will it give you a confidence boost but it’ll also provide you with the motivation to keep going.

Following the SMART acronym helps us develop realistic and achievable goals, and maintain the motivation needed to follow through with them. Setting goals like this can help us enact positive changes in our lives in a gradual and transformative way, making a positive impact not just on ourselves – but also  the world around us too.

Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni

27 July 2023

"Dr. Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced Consultant Psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector."

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Athena Lazaridou

Athena is a Pilates instructor with 8 years’ experience in the field. After completing a Power Pilates Mat Certification in Athens, she went on to complete the Full Comprehensive Classical Pilates Certification with Equinox in Kensington.  She has been teaching Pilates at Equinox for the past 6 years in addition to her own private clients who she trains both face to face and virtually.

Athena has a passion for helping people get stronger and fitter as well as helping those recovering from injury regain their strength and mobility.  Over the years, she has worked with athletes to incorporate Pilates into their training and improve performance. Athena has also worked with prenatal and postnatal women who may be experiencing depression or other mental health difficulties and used Pilates to facilitate a positive impact on their mental health.

Athena is very passionate about improving physical and mental well-being and has recently incorporated Sound Healing into her work, as she believes it to be one of the best ways of ‘letting go’ and releasing stale energy whilst increasing greater self-awareness.