If you’ve ever struggled to complete goals you’ve set, the LifeMap approach will be life changing. Using the LifeMap approach will get you from stuck or lost and confused to taking actions that will change your life.
Using SMART goals is a great way to create goals that are actionable and will keep you encouraged and moving forward on your LifeMap. Here is what SMART stands for in the context of a LifeMap.
S is for Specific
A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
- Who: Who is involved?
- What: What do I want to accomplish?
- Where: Identify a location.
- When: Establish a time frame.
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
M is for Measurable
Create goals and associated tasks with details that are objectively (sometimes subjectively) measured. Some examples would be lose 10 pounds, get a raise to $25 an hour, run a mile in 7 minutes, ask Suzy out on Friday, etc.
A is for Accountable
Set up your goals in such a way that you can be accountable to the agreements you’ve made with yourself. There are 3 ways you can create accountability: First, in the non-person form of to-dos, calendars, deadlines, alarm clocks, etc. Second, have someone passively keep you accountable.
You can do this by telling people about your goals and plans. This creates opportunities for them to check in on you and your progress, keeping you accountable. Third, the most obvious and ideal accountability is to directly ask someone to help keep you on track.
R is for Results Oriented
Results oriented goals are goals that have clearly defined markers –measureable, accountable, and time-bound– to let you know you have succeeded or missed the mark. Whether you get the results you want or not, you can look back at your goals and learn from the process and apply the successful methods to other goals and eliminate what didn’t work. You are answering the question: How do I define success for this goal?
T is for Time-Bound
The final element, and possibly the most critical, is developing a time-bound element. Every task and goal must have a time element to it, whether it’s two years, two weeks, two hours, or two minutes, the tasks and goals must have a deadline. As you build your LifeMap, any goal or task that is missing this element will be of little use to you. Without this piece, it is very difficult to create accountability in any of the 3 ways mentioned above.
One last aspect of the SMART Goal process that is absolutely key is creating your goal with a next action item. For example, setting an alarm on your phone, calling someone, sending an email, purchasing an item to help you achieve your goal, etc. Once you finish detailing the SMART Goal, you will be ready to use this next action and get the goal into motion.
Weight Loss LifeMap Goal
Goal: Lose 20 pounds
S: Details below make this goal specific
M: Lose 20 lbs and go from 203 to 183
A: John will workout with me 1x per week and check in on me.
R: Losing two pounds every week is healthy and doable.
T: Lose the weight in 10 weeks.
This is a good SMART goal and covers all the bases and adding these tasks will create an even more valuable goal and a greater likelihood of success. Without actionable items, any goal will be useless.
- Join “Club Fitness” on this Friday after work
- Pay for a personal trainer 1x per week for 10 weeks
- Workout with John 1x per week (Wednesdays) for 10 weeks
- Call John to set up plan this Friday.
- Eat 5-6 small meals per day
- Eat out only 1x per week
- Eat dessert only when you go out
- Run/walk 1x per week for 1-2 miles
As weight comes off or if it doesn’t, you will need to adjust tasks to fit the goal you set. Each of these tasks – if I was doing this – would go into my Wunderlist account for tracking and onto Google Calendar to remind me of my appointments.
You can get lost in the smallest of details or you can let the smallest of details work for you, choose carefully what tasks you need to record and track and which ones come naturally. You will learn a lot about your habits and tendencies as you do this and adjust accordingly. As with the whole LifeMap, the process and approach are up to you.
Check out this article on a WAAG for the LifeMap approach to weekly planning.