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Did you like countless others create a New Year’s resolution that began on the first day of 2018? Will this be the year for you to establish financial stability? Is this the year you will commit to eating healthy and working out three-four days per week to lose weight or gain muscle? So many of us create goals at the beginning of each year, but frequently by the start of February or sooner we have lost track of our intentions.

Life can be complicated and unpredictable. If you have a family to take care of and a partner who you share responsibilities with, life can feel especially difficult. I get it. There is no judgment at all in the tone of this piece. However, I am suggesting that if we are smarter about our goals and acquire an accountability partner, we can achieve more of the things we declared on day one of 2018.

The acronym SMART has been used by many experts in the field of goal setting for quite some time. One of the first appearances of the acronym appeared in a 1981 issue of Management Review by authors George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham. SMART was explained as a Specific Measurable Assignable Realistic Time-based process to accomplish more in business. I've also seen SMART as Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-based methods to increase achievement in educational settings. However, it has been written, or explained SMART goals can lead to practical steps with positive results.



In addition to SMART methods designed to increase accomplishment, it is possible to be SMARTER! Creating SMART goals like Doran, Miller, and Cunningham suggested are important and can lead to success in many areas of an individual’s life. The original authors may have intended for its application in the business community, but I believe there are far-reaching benefits to adopting it in our personal lives as well.

SMARTER goals, where the “E” and “R” symbolize expand and risks, can influence the types of changes we want to see in our personal and professional lives.

What are SMARTER Goals?

Specific defined objectives.

Measurable outcomes, e.g., what is the exact amount of money you want to make?

Achievable ideas, concepts, or things are possible within your given time frame.

Realistic. Flying to the moon without any equipment in February of 2018 is not possible.

Time-bound. You must have a frame to declare your specific goals

Expand. An example of expansion is to read a book to improve a personal relationship.

Risks. If you want to achieve many things in life, you must be willing to take some risks

SMARTER goals are an extension of SMART goals. They differ in the addition of E- expand, and R-risks. If you want to achieve long-term sustainable goals, expanding and taking risks are fundamental tools to innovation. When you expand through reading or participating in courses with the intention to grow in your professional and personal lives, you can develop a set of skills that can significantly change the trajectory of your life. The right types of risks can open unprecedented opportunities to multiple pathways of success.

With SMART and SMARTER goals, it is imperative that you identify someone who can follow-up with you to see if you are on track. This family member, friend, or hired coach can be the fundamental difference between failure and success. No matter, how much self-discipline you possess everyone occasionally needs help. If you don’t require any help in achieving your goals, then it is necessary to create larger objectives for your personal and professional lives. I believe that all of us have infinite potential to accomplish any goal we desire, if we are willing think positive, believe it is possible, take decisive actions, and work with others.

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