40 by 40: Setting SMART goals

This article details how to set SMART goals. I’ll take the goal ideas that I came up with in 40 by 40: Goal ideas, and work through making them SMART.

If you have goal ideas that you want to work towards, you can use the information in this article to help you set SMART goals. Alternatively, grab yourself a GoalGetting workbook for a more structured approach.

What are SMART goals and why are they important?

So far I’ve got some ideas of the goals that I want to work towards, but they are lacking detail. For example, I’ve said that I want to have fun. That’s great, but how often? If I have fun once over the next year, I probably won’t feel very fulfilled!

Making goals SMART makes them clearer, so you know what you’re working towards and can tell if you get there. This in turn will help your motivation and focus, increasing your chance of success.

So how do we make our goals SMART? By making sure that they are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

See the Setting Goals article for more information on SMART goals.

Setting SMART goals

The remainder of this article will work through taking my 40 by 40 goal ideas and making them SMART. Use my notes on this to help you on your own GoalGetting journey.

My goal ideas for my spiritual wellbeing

1. Have fun!

At the moment, this goal idea has very little detail. How much fun should I have? How often? What kind of fun? Let’s work through the SMART criteria to make it clearer.

To make it specific I’m going to rephrase it as ‘do one thing each week just for fun’.

And I’ll also have a think about what kind of things I find fun to make it clearer – playing with my kids, watching a funny movie, hanging out with my friends, days out, new experiences.

This also makes it measurable, as I can track what I did each week.

This goal is probably quite attainable as it is. But, to give myself some slack (and because this series is all about 40s), I’m going to aim for ’40 fun times’. That gives me 12 weeks grace over the year!

Thinking about why a goal is relevant starts to touch on the next step of What’s my why?. Having fun is a relevant goal for me because I’m a busy mum who could easily swallow up time with domestic drudgery if I don’t prioritise fun!

Although I’ve given myself 12 weeks grace, I will still be aiming for this every week, making it timely.

2. 40 self-care activities

This is specific as it states 40 activities. As I did with having fun, I’ll also just run through what self-care means to me – resting, reading, watching TV, eating well and exercising, taking a bath, treats.

The goal of 40 is measurable, attainable and timely in the same way as it was for having fun, above.

This is relevant again because I’m a busy mum, so it’s important to take time for myself.

3. 40 tunes

This goal needs a bit of fleshing out. For me, music is one of the key things I think of when I think of spirituality. It’s something that moves me. I love how different kinds of music create or enhance different moods.

I have a fairly sizeable and eclectic CD collection. But I never mastered the move to downloads and streaming, and so I’ve spent the last few years having my listening dictated by radio stations or autoplay. So the aim of this goal is to get me discovering new music (or rediscovering old favourites).

So my goal is to ‘find 40 tunes that resonate with me’. It is specific – I’m aiming for 40, and I’ll know if they resonate. It’s measurable, attainable and timely like the other ’40’ goals. And my introduction above shows how it’s relevant.

4. Play music 

When I was younger, I used to play the clarinet. It was my life – at one stage I played in over six different orchestras a week, as well as studying music at school. But then life got in the way.

I’ve tried to pick it back up a couple of times since, but I haven’t found the motivation to see it through. This time may not be any different – this will be a good goal to work through in the next stage – what’s my why?

To make it specific, I’ll add a timeframe – I’ll play the clarinet once a month. This is measurable. Similar to the 40 goals giving me grace for my weekly goals, I’m going to aim for 10 out of 12 for monthly goals. This makes it more attainable. As discussed above, I’m not sure about the relevance of this one, I’ll explore this more when setting my vision. Once I’m clearer on my vision, I can adjust my goal to suit this. For example, I might have ‘I’ll play the clarinet once a month with my kids’, or ‘I’ll join XX orchestra’.

5. Meditation

Again, this is not one of my fully formed ideas. Meditation was one of the examples of goals for spiritual wellbeing, and it’s something that I haven’t tried other than the odd small taster. I know of a few apps that have guided meditations, so that is what I will try.

To be specific, I think it would need to be fairly regular to be useful, so I’ll aim for one a week. I know daily would be better, but I’m not sure that would be attainable for me. ‘Complete 40 guided meditations’ is measurable because of the number, and timely as we’re aiming for one a week (with a little slack). I’ll build upon relevance when setting vision, but this would be similar to the self-care activities.

Gratitude journal by Awesome Inc

My goal ideas for my emotional wellbeing

1. Work through a self-help book

First, I need to choose which self-help book. In my ideas I’d listed either Mind over Mood or Start Here. When I featured it in a recent article, I was really drawn to Start Here, so that is the one that I’ll choose.

Over the year, I will work through Start Here. That is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely ✅. Once I get the book I’ll take a look at how many sections there are to figure out how much to complete monthly or weekly.

2. Gratitude journal

My goal is to complete a gratitude journal daily. This one’s pretty SMART already.

3. Affirmations / journal

I love writing, so journalling is something that I’m drawn to. But sometimes it can be hard to find inspiration or meaningful topics, so I’m planning to use positive affirmations as journal prompts. Although I’d love to do this daily, I’d probably be setting myself up to fail. So my SMART goal is ‘Write 40 journal entries inspired by positive affirmations’.

4. Sharing the load

This one will take work! At the moment, I am the go-to person for pretty much EVERYTHING in our house. This could easily wipe out any time I have for myself (and 40 by 40!).

So I need to work on sharing the load. My husband works long hours, but my kids are getting old enough to help out. And we could probably all do a little better at ‘little and often’ to prevent overload!

It will take some work to figure out exactly what this will look like, but my SMART goal is ‘to make a plan each month to share the household responsibilities’.

My goal ideas for my physical wellbeing

1. Run a marathon

This is probably the most ambitious goal on my list. Whilst I’ve run a couple of half marathons in the past, I’m currently only just running 5k. But, I’ve got a year, so it should be attainable. It’s definitely a worthwhile goal, even if I need to review it through the year and maybe revise it down if it becomes obvious that I won’t get there. So attainable and timely are question marks here (will I be ready in a year?), but otherwise it’s SMART.

2. Drink less wine

When I published my goal ideas article I hesitated over this one. I was worried that everyone will think I drink too much wine! I don’t drink a huge amount. But having had almost a year sober in 2017, I can really see the benefits of stopping drinking.

At this stage, I’m not planning to stop completely, but that might be something to contemplate to give my fitness a boost if I struggle with the marathon training. My SMART goal is to limit my drinks to a couple of drinks twice a week, with a monthly exception for special occasions.

3. Lose weight

I am hoping that this will be a natural consequence of running a marathon, and so won’t involve much work! But I’ve included it because my weight has crept up recently, so i want to get back down into the healthy range. My SMART goal is to reach a healthy weight by my 40th birthday.

4. Complete fitness regime

I haven’t worded this one properly. I’d like to follow a strength training programme. I’ve started this a few times in the past, but not managed to see it through. As I get closer to the marathon, I might lay off ‘leg day’! My SMART goal is to complete a strength training programme (8-12 weeks).

5. Get dolled up for an occasion

I am not the kind of person who takes a lot of care over their appearance. I like to look presentable, but beyond that I’m not particularly bothered. I don’t own any make up. My hair-styling kit consists of a brush. And that’s the way I like it. But occasionally, it would be nice to get dressed up and glam for an occasion. This is already a SMART goal – I just need to find an occasion!

My goal ideas for my financial wellbeing

1. Set a budget and stick to it

This is already a pretty SMART goal. I just need to clarify that ‘stick to it’ means the bottom line. I can adjust and reallocate to allow for unforeseen expenses.

2. Pay $XX off mortgage (or save towards an extension)

To make this goal SMART, I need to determine the figure that I am planning to save. As a rough ballpark I’m going to go with $150 per week for six months, which is $3,900 total. I might need to adjust this when I set my budget!

3. Invest

This is something that interests me, but I know very little about. So rather than actually investing, my goal should be to find out more and decide whether this is for me.

4. Learn about a money mindset

This goal is quite straightforward. Although when I’ve learnt, I may find that there are more goals that I want to set for myself in this area.

5. Each week practice something from the Gain a Grand Challenge

This is a SMART goal, and will keep me focussed on my financial wellbeing. I’ll revise this to 40 rather than each week, as I did with previous goals.

My goals for my social wellbeing

By now you will have got the hang of making your goals SMART, so for the remainder of the article I will just list my SMART goals.

1. 40 catch ups with 40 different friends
2. 10 Family days
3. 10 Date nights
4. 10 contributions to my communities (excluding groups under occupational wellness)
5. Social skills development – take a course

My goals for my environmental wellbeing

1. Take an epic trip
2. 40 new places
3. Switch to eco-friendly toiletries and cleaning
4. 10 house maintenance projects
5. Declutter 40 things per month (yes, we have a lot of clutter)
6. Personalise my space – 1 space

My goals for my occupational wellbeing

1. GoalGetters – I have so many goals here I don’t know where to start! I’ll go with consistently posting new content.
2. Develop a career plan
3. Participate in school parents group
4. Participate in Parents Centre Committee
5. Teach a class (in person or online)

My goals for my intellectual wellbeing

1. Read 10 books
2. Learn Te Reo – take a course
3. Watch 10 movies 
4. Learn to sew – take a course
5. Make something

Background to 40 by 40

I started GoalGetters because I was really passionate about the power of goals and the transformation they helped me to achieve within my life.  I wanted to find a way to share this with everyone!  But somewhere along the way I’ve let my personal goals fall to the wayside.

And so I came up with the idea of 40 by 40.

40 goals I’d like to achieve in my 40th year.

I’ll blog throughout the process, so if you have any big (or not so big) goals or dreams that you’d like to achieve, why don’t you join me?

My 39th birthday is fast approaching so I’ll be starting this week, but you can join in at any time.Sign up to the mailing list to get the latest updates delivered directly to your mailbox.

Next steps

So there are my 40 SMART goals for my 40th year. My next step will be to set a vision, develop a plan and make them happen!

Sign up to the mailing list to follow my journey.

40% off GoalGetting workbook

If you have goals or dreams that you’d like to make happen, why not join me?  I have a HUGE deal on workbooks to celebrate 40 by 40:

40 workbooks available at 40% off!  That’s just $6 NZD for an e-copy workbook.  Use the coupon code 40by40 at the checkout and start working towards your goals today! Offer valid until 31 May 2019, unless sold out prior.

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You may be interested in:

40 by 40: Goal Ideas
Setting Goals

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