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Everyone has goals. Almost everyone could come up with one goal on the spot if asked. The key to creating good goals is to write them down and make them SMART. SMART Goals are:

Specific

Measurable Achievable Rewarding Timelined

Specific- Most people's goals are very general and therefore worthless. You'll know when your goal is specific when it stops sounding whiny and starts sounding aggressive.

BAD

"I'd like to see the Great Wall of China one day…"

GOOD

"I will hike 10 miles of the Great Wall of China before my 50th birthday."

Measurable- Goals are measurable when you know you finished them. If there is any doubt as to whether or not you achieved it, it is not measurable. This means that a lot of good goals have numbers in them.

BAD

"I'm going to run the mile fast." GOOD "I'm going to run the mile in 3 minutes 45 seconds in the 2007 national championships."

Achievable- Goals should be realistic. Of course this is a subjective criterion. For some people, owning a personal submarine by their next birthday is very attainable. For others, owning a bicycle is more achievable.

BAD

"I want to be more powerful than God." GOOD "I will own a company with 10 full-time employees within five years."

Rewarding- This criterion seems fairly obvious, but some people miss the point of setting goals. When you achieve your goal, you should get some sort of satisfaction out of it. It doesn't have to be a huge reward, but it should make the goal-setting process worthwhile.

BAD

"I will spend 80 hours per week playing video games for the next year." GOOD "I will win the 2005 video game championships in Las Vegas."

Timelined- Goals must be timed. Make a list of all the steps it will take to achieve your goal and put dates of completion on them.

BAD

"I want to lose 40 pounds." GOOD "I will lose 2 pounds per week for the next twenty weeks."

Write your goals down and put them in your pocket today. Phrase them all in the positive voice. Its better to achieve something than to avoid something else. Allow your goals to be flexible. Its OK for your goals to change as your circumstances do.

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