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Blog post by Allison Hadley, Clinical Intern at Owens & Associates

            In Parts I & II of “Keep Your Goals Rolling”, we went over what S.M.A.R.T. goals are and focused on the letter S, for specific, and M, for measurable. We explained how to make your wishes specific in order to make them distinct goals, and making milestones to measure when you have achieved your goal. So now that we have those in mind, we’ll get started on the third letter, A for achievable.

            These next two letters might at first seem redundant, but looking into how achievable and relevant our goals are can make all the difference in their success. Smartsheet.com suggests asking these questions about how achievable your goal is: “Do you have the skills to achieve your goal? If not, can you obtain them? What is your motivation for this goal? Is the amount of effort on par to what the goal will achieve?”

            These are important questions to ask while preparing to work on your goal. For example, if my goal was to be able to kayak on the sea by the end of this summer or start a business by the end of the year, I’d be setting myself up for failure. Why? Because I’ve never kayaked before! I haven’t done the proper research or saving to start a business! These goals would not be achievable until I modify them. I could start by taking kayaking classes in the spring, and the milestone would be, I am properly kayaking and feel comfortable doing so in a pond or gentle river by the end of the summer (September). It would take much longer for me to be able to do more dangerous kayaking, like on the sea or ocean, and includes taking additional instructions just on those alone. This also means doing the research necessary to figure out how to make the goal achievable.

            What is your motivation for the goal? In my example, I’d have to ask what about kayaking on the sea or having my own business is important to me. We also need to honestly assess whether the amount of effort to achieving our goals is something we’re willing to do. This is not meant to discourage, but to motivate; maybe at this point in time, I don’t have the spare time or energy to do all that is necessary to start a business or learn to kayak. That might mean, I only can put forth some effort, like taking a business or kayaking class by the end of the year. The key here is remembering that for now, that is okay. I’d still be working towards my goal, and I’m not setting myself up to fail because I’ve taken into account how much energy I’m willing to give at this time, which is something that could change.

            Take some time to figure out how achievable your goal is. And remember, your counselor can help with assessing and achieving your goals! Next time, we’ll focus on the R, relevant and T, time-bound.