Uh oh! I was reminded of an aspect of SMART goals that I may have possibly let slip my mind. . . .until this afternoon, when I was reminded of it - suddenly. What was the "memory"? Ideally, SMART goals should not be dependent on things you do not have direct control over - or if they do, there should be a plan B at the ready.
Let me dissect one of this week's goals and demonstrate more clearly what I mean.
Goal #2: I will walk at least 3 miles in 45 minutes with my training buddy on Tuesday along our training course.
What is it about this goal that is out of my control? Primarily that it is dependent on my training buddy. Secondly, the location - our training course.
What is the problem? Well, first, my awesome training buddy bailed on me today (she had some dumb excuse like "I forgot my shoes"). My Gym Angle who sits on my shoulder like my own personal Jiminy Cricket (love you "K") would have said something wise like "You're going to let forgetting shoes keep you from getting healthy? A heart attack isn't going to wait for you to get your gym shoes on - make no excuses for working out!!!"
I digress . . . my goal was based on doing this goal with my training buddy. So . . . the result is a failure - or is it? Well, definitely it is a learning experience for the future and a reminder to keep SMART goals within the realm of one's control. Looking more closely at this goal - the other things that could have messed up my success included: the training course, and in this case, the weather since our training course was outdoors (for my international readers - it's about 15 degrees, snowy, icy, and all around miserable outside!) I must admit that I could have still accomplished the goal had I done the 3 miles in 45 minutes on my own and even on a treadmill and still considered it a victory, but I didn't (lazy!!!!)
How could the goal be fixed so that it is within my control, but yet remain SMART? It could be stated as: I will walk 3 miles in 45 minutes on Tuesday.
SPECIFIC (what exactly is going to occur? 3 miles/45 minutes; when? Tuesday; where? on my training course)
MEASURABLE (how can we tell it was done or not? actually walking 3 miles within the 45 minute time limit; did it occur on Tuesday?)
ACTION BASED (what is the action that I will do? walk quickly)
REALISTIC (is it realistic for me to walk 3 miles in 15 minutes? yes, I've been doing it for about 6 months - I actually could go faster, but I took into consideration the possibility of slippery roads/paths when I made the goal. I wrote the goal for a slower time than I would normally go)
TIME LINE (when was I going to do it? Tuesday - a real SMART goal would include the time such as "after work" or at "lunch time" - but I'm not trying to give all my crazy blog readers the finer details of my daily schedule - I knew this goal was going to occur at 4:30 P.M., but I didn't share it with the millions of you reading this - sorry)
During a coaching session, if this goal would have been suggested by my client, I would have worked out plan B's when I would have asked questions such as "What happens if your training buddy doesn't show up?" "What happens if the weather prohibits walking outdoors?" "What happens if work gets busy and you can't go on Tuesday?" The most important question I would "force" my client to answer would be "What steps will need to occur for you to be successful with this goal?"
I'd love for you to share a goal that "failed" because your goal wasn't SMART enough? What did you learn from it?
I did, however, eat 2 servings of veggies and drank one bottle of water with dinner tonight. It wasn't a completely lost day!
Plan ahead - have a plan B in your pocket - just in case!