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January 8, 2015

How to Write Smart Goals

It was a freezing cold January a few years ago, and three of my best friends and I had decided to escape the dreary Tennessee winter and take our annual girls beach trip to Florida for the New Year. As...

It was a freezing cold January a few years ago, and three of my best friends and I had decided to escape the dreary Tennessee winter and take our annual girls beach trip to Florida for the New Year. As we were sitting on the beach with our toes in the sand, we began dreaming about the year ahead.

One of my friends dreamt of a new job while another dreamt of getting married. We shared tiny, seemingly insignificant dreams as well as a few I’m-embarrassed-to-say-this-out-loud big dreams. I remember voicing my dream of becoming a certified Life Coach for the first time then.

Dreams have the power to change the trajectory of our lives, but they are just the beginning. 

Dreams inspire us, but they don’t do a very good job of holding us accountable. We can float through life as dreamers. But if we want to really make a change, we can’t just be dreamers.

We have to be doers.

You and I have to take our dreams and make something happen.

The idea of becoming a certified Life Coach was the dream that ignited my heart and mind during that beach trip a few years ago. But it wasn’t until I put my plans into action that things began to actually happen.

If you want to turn your dreams into a tangible reality this year like I did, then you’ve got to transform them into goals. That means adding a few very important details to the dream.

I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART goals. They’re a great guideline to work from. If you want your dreams to do something for you, you need to make sure they have the following elements:

S          Specific

I wanted to become a certified Life Coach credentialed by the International Coaching Federation. Being specific allowed me to pinpoint exactly what I was working toward and create a plan to make it happen.

M         Measurable

In order to become credentialed, I knew I had to take 140 hours of training as well as achieve over 300 practice coaching hours. After that, I had to apply before the board. Then I either passed, or I didn’t. That’s pretty measurable!

A         Attainable

I love the idea of biking across the United States, but I don’t have the resources to invest in something like that. However, I knew I had the time, ability and money to invest in achieving the goal of become a certified Life Coach. And furthermore, I was ready and willing to do it!

R         Realistic

Winning American Idol would be an awesome goal for someone, but that unfortunately isn’t realistic for a girl who can’t carry a tune to save her life. However, after researching the necessary steps to become a certified Life Coach, I knew that this was something I could actually accomplish.

T         Timeline

Once I reviewed the requirements, I set a timeline for myself. I wanted to complete my classes and receive my credentials in a year and a half. This gave me a deadline to work toward and helped me stay on track.

When you turn your dreams into tangible goals, you paint a clear picture for yourself of what is required to reach them. Then you can create a plan of specific steps to act on.

Dreams are inspiring as well as necessary to move out of your comfort zone and to think bigger than you normally would.

But don’t stop at dreaming.

If you want to really turn your ideas into reality this year, turn them into goals and make a detailed plan to act on in order to reach them.

Don’t just be a dreamer. Be a doer.

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  • Tim Wise says:

    Great Post – I dreamed of pursuing a different career for years. Daily responsibilities and the energy drain of staying in a position I did not enjoy kept delaying any action. Once I stopped dreaming and took some very significant steps to change my situation, doors opened, the energy returned and I was on my way. Setting SMART goals was a key to taking action in a smart way. (No pun intended). Be a doer, set goals and get going on that dream.

  • Jessica says:

    I have Lost nearly everything so I believe I am in the perfect timing to work with a partner to get my dreams on paper so I can break the how to accomplish in to achievable steps.

  • Josh Wolfe says:

    Thank you for writing this post, Christy! You speak my language, and help me to understand better what people that see me on a daily basis couldn’t seem to get through my thick skull!