Home > Intellectual, Mental > Abraham Lincoln Gets It…

Abraham Lincoln Gets It…

November 28, 2011

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” So how do we properly set a goal? I found a great posting on this at the Thrilling Heroics blog. Here’s what it has to say:

The best way to set goals that are longer-term than your weekly To Do list items is to start practicing SMART goals. SMART, in this case, is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. You can review these questions in your head as you set goals, or you may want to write them out for each major goal you set.

Specific — Is it something concrete, that you’ll know when you’ve completed it? This is one big reason why “resolutions” fail. People often set ambiguous goals that are too broad to be actionable or too unclear to know when you’ve fulfilled the requirements. For instance, a popular New Years’ resolution is “to get in shape.” But how are you going to achieve that? That is only a very murky version of the visualization that we’ve already practiced above. Now make it specific!

Measurable — How will you measure your progress at the end of the year, or how will you know when you’ve achieved your objective? Think about what specific criteria you’ll have to fulfill to reach the specific outcome you want. And a good way of measuring may be to keep a notebook of your progress toward the goal, or involving your friends in keeping you on track.

Attainable — Is it realistic and possible for you to achieve this in the year ahead, or are you reaching too far? Do you have too much on your plate already? Set goals that will make you stretch, and learn, and grow. But don’t set unrealistic, far-fetched goals that will only discourage you when you don’t meet them.

Relevant — This is actually my favorite of these questions to ask when you’re doing these mental exercises, and it is the first one that I ask because it is the best filter because I think it is the most important. Put simply, is the goal important? Is it really going to get you closer to your dreams, and is it really worth investing your energy in? Or should you focus on other, more important goals?

Time-Bound — When will you complete this goal? Specifically? By October? In Q1? On your birthday? Remember what I said about being flexible with changes in timing toward the beginning of this post, but attaching a time to your goals makes them immediate and important. Remind yourself regularly that you have a goal to meet. When do you plan to start, and what is your target date for completion?


My Two Cents: Remember that after you’ve set your SMART goal, you’ve still got to figure out a way to achieve it. I recommend using the EASIER Method. Don’t know what the EASIER Method is? Download Success! A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Achieve Your Goals and Dreams and read all about it!