Some of my goals are not S.M.A.R.T.  For example:
  • How can I be fun?
  • How can I be persuasive?
  • How can I be romantic?
I find the most important characteristics of goals that motivates me is that the goal be measurable and timely.  These goals are neither.  Even though I reinforce these goals regularly, I'm not sure that I am taking steps to improve those skills.  What is a method to achieve these goals?

Dale Carnegie suggests self-analysis, in particular "Check up each week on the progress you are making. Ask
yourself what mistakes you have made, what improvement, what lessons you have learned for the future."  He does not insist on measurable and timely goals.  I was also suggest this idea of self-analysis from another teacher.  This is not something that I have part of my schedule, so it's something to consider.

Another possibility is to try and make the goals measurable and timely.  For example, for the goal of wanting to be fun, I could make a goal of trying to make at least one person laugh for 3-5 days in a week.  For persuasive I could make the goal to convince someone to do something for me 3-5 days in a week.  For romantic, I could say I will purchase some product about relationships and apply at least one of it's teachings within 2 weeks.

There are two ideas, self-analysis and make the goals measurable and timely.  I prefer the second option.

What ideas do you have on how to achieve unmeasurable goals?
George T. Doran came up with a mnemonic to help you evaluate your goals.  It is SMART.  Each of the letters is meant to remind you of something to consider when making your goals:

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Relevant
T - Time Bound

Specific - This means that the goal should be clear.  You can ask the questions, Who? What? Where? & Why? to help you clarify the goal.

Measurable - This means that we should have some way to determine that we are getting closer to the goal and that the goal has been achieved.  Usually this means associating a number with the goal.  If your goal is "I want to be happy."  You could try something like, "I will laugh, 3 times this week."

Attainable - This means that the goal is something that is reasonably in our reach.  The irony is that harder goals are often easier to achieve than easy goals because they provider greater motivation.  Be aware that there are goals that may be unlikely for you to achieve.  For example, if your goal is "I want to be able to hold my breath for 1 hour underwater.", it might not be very attainable.

Relevant - This means that that goal should be about something important to you.  Your goals should provide significant emotional response for you, when you think about and work towards them.

Timely - This means that the goal should have an end point.  Try and find a way to limit your goals such that you can be motivated to take action now to achieve the deadline.

When I think about this, I realize that some of my goals are not following these criteria.  I will review my goals and see how I can update them to be SMART.

How about your goals, are they SMART?
There is a good article on Forbes by Lewis Howes called "Why Thinking Small Is The Secret To Big Success".  The main point of the article is that if you are having problems achieving your goals, then maybe the goals are too big.  I encourage you to check out the article.

I couldn't agree more with his point.  Think of this from an athletic perspective.  If someone wanted to learn how to pole vault, wouldn't it be ridiculous to give this beginner a long pole, set the bar at the current world record level and then tell them to run very fast and get over the bar?  How much success would they experience?  How long until they gave up and said it was impossible?

Wouldn't it maybe make more sense to give this person something that they can achieve, no matter how small?  Maybe give them a 3 foot long pole and ask them to flip over that pole onto a nice soft mat, so they can learn how to flip over the bar.  There must be some beginner activities that can be used to allow a person to gradually work up to being able to break the world record.

BTW, even world record breakers generally use the same approach.  I have never heard of world class athlete structuring their workouts where they start by giving themselves the largest possible challenge and then just keep trying to achieve that result.  Instead, they almost always start with something that, for their current abilities is almost certain to lead to success.  This is sometimes called a warm-up.  After the warm-up, they will then gradually increase difficulty until they are ready to attempt the world record levels.

So when it comes to other areas of your life, use the same idea.  Set some warm up goals.  What are some goals, that at your present level of ability, you are almost certain you can achieve them.  As Lewis says, think small.  Maybe your first goal is just to get out of bed.  That's fine.  They key is that once you achieve your first goal, celebrate, and immediately set another goal.

Keep raising the bar like this and congratulating yourself.  If you hit the bar and knock it off, that's great.  This is what is going to happen and every world class athlete knocks the bar off every so often.  Just reset the bar, set a new goal, maybe a smaller goal if you want, and go again.  Develop momentum and soon you will be amazed at how high the bar is.
It is great to be enthusiastic and positive when setting our goals.  When setting goals, let's be careful to set goals that are likely to energize and encourage us when we have done our best to achieve them, rather than cause us too much pain if we fall short of our goal.

With this in mind, I am cautious about making goals that require achieving a particular level of success relative to others.  I would recommend setting goals independent of how other people do.

Think about athletes.  When we watch a sports competition, we celebrate the victors and it is sometimes said that second place is the first loser.  Of course, I want to achieve my highest possible level of success, though it is most likely that of the billions of other people in world there might be one other person who can achieve more than me.  So if I am focused on being number one, even if I achieve more than everyone else in the world besides that one person who achieve more than me, I might feel like a failure because I didn't make number one.

A friend of mine told me about how she was on one of the Olympic teams.  For her sport they had three groups A, B and C.  A was the best, B were the backups, and C were those who pretty much had no chance of going to the Olympics.  She was on the C team.  She said that it was difficult not feeling bad since in her peer group she was in the bottom third.  The crazy thing is that if she went to any community around the world, they would be blown away with her athletic abilities and the local athletes would praise her and say how much they wished they had her abilities.

As a counter example, a good friend of mine was told at a young age that she had no talent for dance and should give it up.  Despite this advice, she loved dance and decided to dedicate her life to dance.  She found a way to make a living as a dance instructor and dancer.  She always realized that she would never be a world class dancer, though she was just thrilled to be doing what she loved to do.

Let's try and find a way to do this in our life.  It is great to make huge vision goals.  I know a website blog who's goal is to help 10 million people.  This is a huge goal and notice how it is independent from how other blogs do.

Be careful about being too concerned about beating out all other competitors.  Find out what it is that we really want and work towards getting as much of it as we can.