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Published on August 25, 2020

5 Reasons Why It Is Important for Goals to Be Measurable

5 Reasons Why It Is Important for Goals to Be Measurable

The secret to a successful life is effective goal setting, and the secret to effective goal setting is SMART goals. The magic wand that works it wonders in SMART goals is the ‘M.’

Do you why it’s so important for goals to be measurable? This one property plays the role of the backbone in SMART goals. It eases the way for the rest of the process and increases your chances of moving forward successfully.

Today, you’ll find out all about the significance of measurable goals and how they can enhance your ability to achieve goals in life!

What Are Measurable Goals?

Let’s start by reminding you what SMART goals are and what exactly the ‘M’ stands for.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

1. Specific

Specificity is self-explanatory. It means that your goals shouldn’t be general or broad. Instead, they should pinpoint all the details. However, you also need to make sure that while making the goals specific, you don’t overcomplicate them. Answer the what, why, how as simply and clearly as possible.

2. Achievable

Whatever goal you plan should be realistic. If it’s not achievable, it’s not a goal but only a wish. The difference between a desire and a goal is that the latter can be ticked off with the right efforts.

For example, a wish would be to reach the moon. This on its own is pretty unachievable. However, if you set multiple achievable goals, such as joining an astronaut training program at NASA, you may one day step on the moon for real.

3. Relevant

Relevance is extremely significant. Your goals should be relevant to your life’s ideology, your morals, your long-term plans, and also the current circumstances. If you’re already preoccupied with a lot of responsibilities, it’s not a good idea to start something completely new.

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Similarly, going for a goal that is irrelevant to your current lifestyle will put you in major jeopardy. For example, you can’t aim to learn water skiing if you’re living in a desert land.

4. Time-Bound

Time-bound goals set a time limit on your goals—you don’t have room to slack. Whatever you plan needs to have a defined due date as well.

5. Measurable

Now let’s talk about the most important part—measurable goals.

How do you measure a goal? Basically, this factor is an accountability plan for yourself. By devising measurable goals, you define what exactly will make you successful.

Let’s say you intend to increase your income. How will you know how much increase is enough to tick off the goal from your list?

On the other hand, if you clarify that you want a 10% increase in your current income, once you get there, you’ll know you’ve done it.

Not only does this set a standard for you to reach, but it is also a source of motivation. Without a measure, you might overachieve but still not be satisfied.

The Importance of Measurable Goals

SMART goals have 5 factors. Why is it the most important for goals to be measurable in specific?

Well, the answer is simple. Being measurable automatically fulfills the criteria of the other 4 aspects. Here’s how this happens!

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1. Measurable Goals Are Specific

When you’re making a goal measurable, you’re naturally adding more specificity to it.

Look at it this way:

Initially, you had a goal in mind to get fit. However, you cannot really measure anything in this goal. To make it more measurable, you decide to add exercise to your daily routine. It will help you gain stamina, lose the extra inches, and strengthen your muscles.

Once again, you still can’t measure your progress. So eventually, you narrow it down to working out 15 minutes every day.

In this goal, you’re basically measuring how much fitness you want to add to your lifestyle while also making it specific. In fact, you have added more detail this way than you would have if you were trying consciously.

This isn’t any rocket science. Yet, it can be confusing when you’re under the pressure of planning effective goals. So, it’s helpful that simply adding the aspect of measure makes your goals so much clearer and well-defined.

2. Measurable Goals Are Achievable

As previously mentioned, goals that aren’t achievable aren’t goals at all. It is very important to plan something attainable. Otherwise, no matter how well you plan everything and how much you struggle for it, you’ll never reach your desired destination.

There is a fine line between getting unrealistic and going the extra mile. It’s great to want to reach new ends. But sometimes, this ambition can detract you and lead you to something impossible.

For example, it is great if you want to expand your work expertise. Despite working in the sales department for 10 years, you now want to start experimenting in the marketing department as well. Your aim is simply to broaden your skillset.

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While this intent is positive, if you plan a goal to work in both the departments side by side, that will be something unrealistic.

If you catch yourself in a confusing state like this, focus your attention on making the goal measurable. It will naturally start becoming more achievable too.

So, what you can do is measure how much expertise you want to increase in the department of marketing. A good example of this wanting to play a marketing executive’s role flawlessly by the end of the month. Furthermore, you can decide to utilize the 1-hour lunch break to learn these skills.

This will give you a set precedent. Meanwhile, you won’t have to overdo things on the marketing side or let go of your responsibilities in the sales department.

3. Measurable Goals Are Relevant

Measurable goals aren’t directly relevant. But if you put in a conscious effort, these two factors get linked very easily.

When you’re measuring a goal to make sure you can track the progress, you subconsciously know in the back of your mind whether or not it can be achieved. This subconscious sound in your mind is reminding you of the goal’s relevance to your ongoing life routine.

Measurable goals need to be precise. When adding this precision to your goals, you get a clear idea of whether or not the goal can fit in your life at the moment or not.

For example, if you plan to add an hour-long workout session to all 7 days of your week, you can get a sense of whether or not you have enough time to fit it in or not.

4. Measurable Goals Are Time-Bound

Time constraints are pretty natural in measurable goals.

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Time-bound goals can be divided into 4 main categories; immediate goals, short-term goals, medium-term goals, and long-term goals.[1] So, based on how you’re measuring your progress, you can add a time limit to it.

Let’s say you’ve started an online blog that you want to take forward. Your measurable goal can be that you want to increase the readership from 350 to 500 people per month. Now, whether you want to do that in one month, six months, or one year is a vital part of this goal.

Time-bound goals give you a sense of a deadline so you’re less likely to procrastinate. Hence, your productivity increases.

5. Measurable Goals Give You a Clear Sense of Direction

With specificity and relevance, such goals lead you to a very clear path. There is no blurry vision, you’re well aware of what you’re aiming for, and the entire process is pretty much clear in your head.

Technically, measurable goals define every aspect of your goals so clearly that there is no room left for confusion—there is no room for haphazardness. You won’t get lost in the way. This clarity itself is a huge bliss when you’re aiming for big goals.

Knowing your direction increases your motivation and hence, helps you achieve what you desire quicker and better. Since there are no obstacles in a path like this, your inner self drives you to work harder too. So, if you’re someone who struggles with achieving goals, try making them more measurable for better outcomes.

Conclusion

What matters the most is that whatever you work hard for, you can achieve it. The toughest parts of life are when all your efforts go to waste.

A fool-proof way to keep these dark days at bay is to always develop SMART goals. Whether you’re planning something for work or your personal life, opt for SMART goals in every part of your life to receive success.

What’s even better is that you don’t even have to struggle with all the 5 factors of SMART goals. As long you put in the thought to make them measurable, your goals will inevitably be as SMART as they can be.

Neither is this process time-consuming nor is it hard to implement in your daily life. So, without wasting any more time, start making your goals more measurable for increased motivation, organized life, and higher chances of success!

More Articles About Effective Goal Setting

Featured photo credit: Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Debt Slapped Grad: Time Bound Goals

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

Memory plays an integral role in our lives, both in the short and long term. If you’re wondering how to improve memory, I’m here to tell you that there are natural and effective ways to do so.

Despite what you might think, improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it.

Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve memory efficiently and reduce the risk of memory loss.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts, and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder, then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. Research suggests that the more information and distractions you receive, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory[1].

Fortunately, meditation can help.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

While any amount of meditation will do something to help your memory, one study pointed out that “8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores”[2].

Therefore, if you’re looking for the most benefits, try sticking with a meditation practice for at least 8 weeks.

However, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then it’s likely that you’re not able to remember well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities, including your memory.

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If you want to learn how to improve memory, how much sleep should you be getting?

Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation[3], you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things[4].

If you want to improve memory, get plenty of sleep.

    Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!), but if you care about improving your long and short term memory, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

    Try these three things to naturally improve your sleep cycle:

    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
    • Don’t eat too late
    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory.

    3. Challenge Your Brain

    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or under-sleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games.

    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-solving ability, and memory.

    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

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    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

    4. Take More Breaks

    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctly remember working all the hours under the sun—and many under the moon, too!

    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat, and tears.

    However, if you want to know how to improve memory, taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative, and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

    One 2011 study from the University of Illinois concluded that “the brain is built to detect and respond to change…and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance”[5].

    This is based on something called the “vigilance decrement.” This can be applied to many things. For example, we often don’t notice the feeling of clothing touch our bodies because our brain becomes accustomed to the sensation. However, if you change clothes, you’ll likely notice the difference in texture and temperature for a few minutes.

    When you take a break from memorizing information, it refocuses your attention and energy, leading to increased focus overall.

    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart, and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

    Basically, make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

    5. Learn a New Skill

    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true but frequently overlooked:

    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

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    Let me give you an example of this:

    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day, many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you rather than letting you work in your own way.

    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction into learning a new skill (computer coding).

    It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career, and the ongoing learning made the call center job much more bearable.

    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus, and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking out new information. When learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly becomes a habit, too.

    If you want to know how to learn something new every day, check out this article.

    6. Start Working out

    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory[6].

    Regular physical activities increase blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. A well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

    Even if you don’t have much time, research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines[7].

    Interested in getting started?

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    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

    • Join a gym
    • Join a sports team
    • Buy a bike
    • Take up hiking
    • Dance to your favorite music

    7. Eat Healthier Foods

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    This applies to your brain, too.

    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health, as well.

    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery, and dark chocolate. But any fruits, vegetables, or foods high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory. Here’re some ideas: 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain, leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

    If you want to improve your mental health, eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

    • Turmeric – Helps new brain cells grown
    • Broccoli – Protects the brain against damage
    • Nuts – Improves memory
    • Green tea – Enhances brain performance, memory and focus[8]
    • Fish oilFish oil supplements can increase your brain power

    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

    Also, remember that your brain is about 75% water, so dehydration can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions. Stay hydrated if you really want to improve memory!

    Final Thoughts

    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be helpful for you.

    You don’t need to implement them all, but you can try out the ones that appeal to you.

    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory and avoiding cognitive decline, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested.

    More on How to Improve Memory

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

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