How To Write SMART Goals, Courtesy of a Moose.

This is a guest blog by Pamela A. Scott

Several years ago, we took a family vacation to Maine. Being a savvy professional, I set official goals for the trip. I wrote them down, of course. Goals aren’t real unless you write them down.

I shared my written goals with a peer group. I even wrote them down in the visitors’ registration book at a Maine information center.

“Goals for Maine trip: to get a green tourmaline ring and to see a moose.”

Before I tell you what happened, let’s look at how to set goals using the SMART method, a tried-and-true model for goal setting. And very fitting for this time of year.

SMART goals

Identify Your SMART Goals

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. You’ll see other words used in the acronym, but the message is the same. Set SMART goals.

SPECIFIC: You must be specific when you write SMART goals. It’s not just “I want to lose weight.” It’s “I want to lose weight on the Paleo diet.”

MEASURABLE: You must be able to quantify your goals. “I want to lose 40 pounds on the Paleo diet.”

ATTAINABLE: Your goal must be attainable. “I want to lose 40 pounds on the Paleo diet and by scaling tall buildings.” What do you need to learn to do in order to scale tall buildings? What’s your plan for learning that?

REALISTIC: Your goal must be realistic. “I want to lose 40 pounds on the Paleo diet so I can wear a size S.” If you’re a size XXL, that may be an unrealistic goal. Make sure your goal will test you but is not beyond what can be done.

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TIMELY: Set time limits. This will give you a sense of urgency. It will help your unconscious align with your intention. “I want to lose 40 pounds on the Paleo diet by losing 5 pounds a month for eight months.”

Seems pretty simple once you’ve worked through the example. Right?

Let’s See What Happened in Maine

We worked our way up the Maine coast, where I found a green tourmaline ring that spoke to me. Goal met! Then we headed into Moosehead Lake, a very large lake in upstate Maine. We took a moose safari, a three-hour boat trip on the lake.

I was serious about this moose goal.

Everyone told us we would surely see a moose, because it was in the 90s and the animals would come down to the lake to cool off.

Obviously, the moose didn’t get the memo. They didn’t show.

The only moose we saw was one on the side of the road. It looked like a youngster taking a nap, but he was dead.

Technically, I met my goals. I got the ring, and I saw a moose.

However, had I used SMART goals, I would have declared my goal to be “see one moose, upright and breathing.” Not dead on the side of the road.

Be sure your SMART goals pass the moose test.

About the Author Pamela A. Scott

headshot chase 1Pam is an executive coach to CEOs and business owners, focusing on communication, managing people, leadership, and emotional intelligence. Her tagline says it best: “Numbers may drive the business, but people drive the numbers.”®

Pam started her company more than 20 years ago. For much of that time, Pam has coached engineers and architects to be leaders in their companies.

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She brings more than 25 years of communications expertise and leadership experience as

  • A national award-winning newspaper editor
  • A communications specialist writing for Congress
  • A successful entrepreneur specializing in coaching clients to reach their full potential

Clients have ranged from solo practitioners to companies such as Turner Broadcasting System, Coca Cola, Federal Reserve Bank, and engineering firms such as Walter P. Moore. For 15 years, Pam was a member of Vistage, an international organization of CEOs.

Pam has a master’s in education and human development from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in communication from Bethany College. In Toastmasters, she has achieved Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Leadership Bronze levels.

We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about setting SMART goals. 

Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.

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To your success,

Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success

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Originally posted 2021-01-11 16:51:25.

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