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Last Updated on November 27, 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

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Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

How to Set Milestones to Progress Towards Your Goal

How to Set Milestones to Progress Towards Your Goal

When you define milestones for yourself, you build a ladder to your goals. The more rungs you add, the easier the climb.

Taking those steps can be challenging. But for those who haven’t done it before, the tougher challenge actually comes first: carving out the steps.

What do appropriate milestones look like, and how are they placed? Let’s start with a definition.

What Are Milestones?

According to Merriam-Webster, “milestone” has two definitions.[1] The first is literal: a rock used as a milepost. The second, “a significant point in development,” is what most people refer to when they talk about making progress toward a goal.

“A significant point” is what you make of it—if you’re learning to cook, making eggs over easy without breaking the yolks may be significant to you. If you’re a professional chef, making eggs might not even count as a warm-up.

How do you decide what’s significant?

By looking at your larger goal.

To the professional chef, the goal might be to master the full English breakfast so it can be added to the menu. The amateur may simply want to cook himself a quick meal before work.

That’s what makes setting milestones so tricky—you need to understand your start and endpoints to know which markers to set in the middle. And on top of that, you have to plot them on a timeline, stay motivated, track your progress, and learn from your mistakes.

How to Define Milestones for Yourself

Defining milestones for yourself can be a tall order. Here are ways you can do it.

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1. Define Your Endpoint

What do you actually want to accomplish? Is it securing a job in your field? Boosting your grade point average above 3.0?

Remember, goals come in many colors. They might be personal, financial, professional, social, emotional, or spiritual. There’s no “wrong” goal, just as long as you know your “why” and are committed to it.

2. Start Where You Are

To set milestones, it’s not enough to know where you want to end up—just as important is where you’re at now.

Looking at yourself objectively is tough. Think about it, and ask others for a gut check. If you’re not sure how your basketball skills stack up to people who eventually go pro, ask a trusted coach or teammate for their opinion.

3. Be ‘SMART’ About it

Once you know where you stand and where you want to be, you’re ready to plot some waypoints for yourself. Define milestones just as you do your big-picture goals—with the “SMART” system.

Milestones should be:

Specific

To be meaningful, milestones need to be carved out precisely.

If you’re trying to get fit, what does that mean to you? Would you like to lose a certain amount of weight? Build muscle? Overhaul your diet?

All of these might be milestones toward your goal.

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Again, if you aren’t sure, ask a professional. When I decided to get healthy for my kids, I knew I wasn’t aiming to be an Olympian. For some “normal dude” coaching, I reached out to a friend at IVRY Fitness.[2]

He helped me truly understand what specifically I needed to be my best self. I always tried to just jump on the Whole30 bandwagon or whatever was the hottest fitness goal at the time. He helped me understand that to achieve sustainability in your goals, they need to be targeted for you.

Measurable

To stay on track in my fitness regimen, my checkpoints had to be measurable. In some cases, this was a simple “yes or no”. One of my milestones, for example, was eating a real lunch every day.

In other cases, my milestones were numeric in nature. For the cardiovascular component, I set a daily step goal for myself. To build strength, I needed to gradually increase the amount of weight I was lifting. Making each of these measurable helped me know whether or not I’d met the milestone.

Achievable

Not all measurable and specific milestones make sense. There’s no way I was going to bench press 400 pounds the week after I set my health goals, for example. Trying to do too much too quickly would have discouraged me, not to mention the risk of injury.

For each milestone you’re considering, ask yourself: Is this a “stretch” milestone, an easy one, or a “goldilocks” one? Again, ask someone who knows you well if you’re not sure.

Relevant

Milestones have to make sense in the context of your larger goal to be worth setting. If you can’t explain how your milestone actually gets you closer to that goal, set a different one.

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For example, mental health is an important part of fitness. But because I wasn’t depressed, there’s no reason I’d define a milestone for myself like “see a counselor once a week.”

Time-Bounded

When do you expect to reach your milestone? Is it an hour away? A whole year? Any time horizon is fine, so long as it’s factored into the milestone you set. Remember that milestones must be achievable.

4. Take it One at a Time

If setting a dozen milestones at once is too daunting, try setting a new milestone only after achieving the last one. If you’re learning to swim, for instance, you might decide which stroke you want to learn next depending on how difficult you found the last one.

Doesn’t that make achieving your overall goal more difficult? Not necessarily. You just need to know the general arc. With the swimming example, your plan may be to learn a new stroke every other week. The specific strokes don’t matter until it’s time to practice them.

5. Write it Down

When you set a milestone, write it down. Not only does doing so help you further define the milestone — remember the SMART system—but it also makes you more likely to achieve it.

Milestones really are goals nestled within larger goals, and research shows writing down goals makes you 42% more likely to reach them.[3]

6. Be Flexible

Try as you might, you won’t meet every milestone you set for yourself. Don’t punish yourself. Learn from your mistake, and set another—and hopefully more achievable—milestone.

Do you need to scrap other milestones down the road because you failed to meet one? Not necessarily, but you may need to delay them.

If you didn’t pass your driver’s test, you probably need to push back practicing merging onto the highway. To ace your test, you may need to first reach a new milestone of memorizing road signs.

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7. Reward Yourself Along the Way

Rewards aren’t just for reaching your big-picture goals. Motivate yourself to keep setting milestones by giving yourself small gifts along the way.

Be careful, however, that they aren’t too small. Just as you wouldn’t give a friend or client a cheap gift, nor should you give yourself one.

John Ruhlin, a gifting expert I know, recommends this rule:[4])

Give yourself something you’d never normally buy but would love to own.

Obviously, don’t go out and buy yourself a new car because you hit your step goal. But a high-end, personalized water bottle might be just the ticket.

8. Give Yourself Breaks

Another way people demotivate themselves is by working themselves into the ground just to reach that next milestone. They beat themselves up, for example, because the nice dinner they enjoyed on vacation blew their calorie budget.

Life is bigger than any one milestone. If you have something to celebrate, indulge a little. If life deals you a setback, realize it may take some time to get back on track. What’s important is that you keep a positive attitude.

9. Get an Accountability Partner

If you’re struggling to set and stick to your milestones, don’t give up; get a partner. Make sure it’s someone who will be firm but fair with you, like a family member or a close friend.

Don’t insist that the accountability partner progress through your milestones with you. Everyone has their own goals to achieve. Do, however, ask him or her to hold you accountable. Suggest some light consequences in case you aren’t progressing toward your goal like you’d hoped.

Even if you can’t get an accountability partner, you can use one of your calendar apps to set daily goals that reminds you of each goal. At the end of the week, go through your calendar and track which goals you accomplished.

Final Thoughts

Some people already find goal setting difficult, so what more if they have to set milestones? To define milestones also means to progress toward your larger goals. Defining milestones on your own may not be easy at first, but you can start with these 9 tips until you get used to it.

More Tips on Setting and Achieving Milestones

Featured photo credit: Ante Hamersmit via unsplash.com

Reference

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