NOTE: The SMART series is best read from the first post. Start with Get SMART - Look yourself in the i - and read from there.


In my last post I talked about the importance of “i S.M.A.R.T.” goal setting. Once you have clarified your goal in this way (i.e. you are able to see the goal in your minds “i”) your are able to follow on with the rest of the SMART process (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely). Although there is a wealth of information out there on SMART goals (almost 6 million hits on Google), I want to offer a different, new way of thinking about this, one acronymic letter at a time, starting with the title of this post

Research tells us that if you are specific about the goal you set, you have a much better chance of achieving it. For example “I’m going to walk briskly around the neighborhood for 15 minutes every day” is very specific, whereas “I’m getting in gear for the rest of the year” or “I’m losing weight in ‘08″ are very general, ‘fuzzy’ goals (even though the rhyming thing may allow the goal to roll off the tongue a little easier).

So .... what makes a goal ‘specific?

The majority of the thousands of suggestions for making sure that goals are specific (Try Google again and see for yourself) are based on the famous 5 “W’s”: Who? What? When? Where? Why? This is certainly one way to point you in the direction of specificity

Who: Who else is involved in it (the goal)?

What: What do I want to accomplish?

Where: Where am I going to do it?

When: When am I going to do it – and for how long?

Why: Why am I doing it?

My ‘New Thinking’ here – my “aha” moment! – was that If you adopt the “i” approach, these W’s (or any other “W” you may think of) all become incorporated into the two primary, intrinsic “What’s” I wrote about in my last post

  • What do I want?
  • What is important to me?

As I thought about this, I also realized that once these two primary “What’s” have been answered, the other W’s just fall into place!

When you answer these two “What" questions honestly (i.e. intrinsically) everything becomes clarified, and once this happens, you have optimized your potential for achieving your goal.

So … Specifically … what do you want? … what is important to you?

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