It seems there are life hacks for just about everything. Want to increase the performance of your workouts? There are pills for that. Want to improve your mental performance? Some tech CEOs swear by microdosing. What about improving your sleep? Try binaural beats.
All the aforementioned hacks are very specific and niched. What if I want to know “How can I live a better life?” Well, it turns out better goal setting and achievement is a step in that direction. One of the most powerful and time-tested hacks for achieving your goals is SMART Goals.
What Are SMART Goals?
The SMART goals acronym was coined 30 years ago by business guru Peter Drucker. Simply put, SMART goals are a powerful tool to help you plan and achieve your goals. A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. One of the best explanations of SMART goals I’ve found was written by the folks at MindTools.com. It is simple and easy to read while being thorough at the same time.
Why Do You Need to Create Goals for Yourself?
Goals give you something to strive for and help to define you as a person. They are powerful tools for enhancing your life. In short, goals provide motivation, improve performance, and even shape behavior.
Many of the top businesses use SMART Goals as a strategic tool to add structure and focus to projects. Profitability depends on making sure everyone has the same expectations and that projects are done on time. Whether you’re trying to build a new business or just want to lose a few pounds, there’s no reason why you can’t use this simple method to accomplish your goals. Use SMART Goals to get the most return on your efforts and greatly improve your chances of achieving your goals.
5 Hacks to Supercharge Your Life
Some smaller goals don’t require much effort (I’d argue these are tasks rather than goals). However, when it comes to large life-changing goals you need to rely on more than memory and talent. While you don’t need to use SMART goals go use these hacks, you may find that your goals have more structure and are more clear by using this technique. Consider using SMART goals as a bonus 6th hack. That being said, you can start crushing your life-altering goals now with these 5 simple, but ingenious hacks:
1 Write your goals by hand rather than typing them
Given we sell notebooks and journals, this one could come off seeming like a sales pitch. So I won’t say much here. But it’s worth noting that multiple studies show multiple benefits and triggers robust neurological activities across both brain hemispheres.
2 Use blue ink when writing your goals
No, I don’t own stock in the largest blue ink manufacturing company. Research actually shows the color blue helps spark creativity. If you have simple goals, sure use whatever color you like. However, if you have big, bold, and audacious goals (and you really should) – you’ll want as many resources as possible to help you master your goals. Having a bit of extra creativity can only be a good thing when dealing with challenges and complex issues.
3 Use a prompt to remind yourself of your goals and to give yourself gentle nudges
As the saying goes “Out of sight. Out of mind.” Unfortunately, the reason many goals are left incomplete is they are simply forgotten. As time passes and little action is taken, they are abandoned in the abyss of our subconscious (if they’re lucky, perhaps they get to play with Bing Bong in the Memory Dump inside our mind). It happens to all of us. Your goal of traveling to Paris gets substituted for evenings of binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix.
While life has ways of distracting us, we can easily use simple tools we already have to keep us focused. We can create little nudges that push us in the right direction when we go astray. Automation is key here. Here are a few simple examples of how to keep your goals top of mind:
- Set monthly reminders on your electronic calendar to review your goals. You can use Google Calendar or other calendar software. Make sure you get notifications via e-mail (and text if possible).
- Create daily time-blocks on your calendar to review your goals. The perfect times are right after waking or just before going to sleep.
- Set the background image on your phone and computer to be a list of your goals. You don’t need any special software for this. You can use Word or PowerPoint to write your goals and save them as images.
- Get an accountability partner and schedule quarterly coffee meetups to review progress on each other’s goals. Make sure you have a reliable partner. Use peer pressure in a positive way.
- Write your goals on post-it notes and place them around your house in places you’re sure to see them (i.e. bathroom mirror, refrigerator,…).
- Tell your kids about your goals and ask them to remind you once a month (or week if you’re daring). Trust me, they won’t forget. Being a good parent, you don’t want them learning to put off their dreams, so you’ll work hard to be a good example. Don’t have children? Tell a friend, niece or nephew.
4 Draw pictures of challenges you’ll need to solve to accomplish your goals
OK, I know I’m at risk of losing a few of you here. No, you don’t need to be an artist. Simple doodles or primitive stick-figure sketches will do. Drawing has the benefit of tapping into the right hemisphere of the brain. This part of the brain is strong in abstract thinking, visualization, and creativity. These are things you’ll want when trying to find solutions to the challenges that come up in pursuit of your goals.
5 Look at your pictures upside down
I spent a few years pretending to be a photographer. Somewhere between spending way too much time looking at photographs, and way too little time actually taking photos, I learned that great photographers have an uncanny ability to see the ordinary in exciting new ways. They look at mundane objects from a different viewpoint and create art. You can do the same with your goals.
In her book amazing book Drawing on the Artist Within, Betty Edwards describes how drawing a sketch of an issue, then flipping the sketch upside down and looking at it unleashes your mind to see the issue in a new light. This opens up new opportunities for problem-solving. You may not become a great artist, but you may find amazing and wonderful solutions to help you accomplish your goals.
Turn the doodles u made using tip #4 upside down and let that powerful computer between your ears go to work. I know it sounds silly, but I’ve done this many times myself with great success.
Be more effective and accomplish more by using SMART Goals. First, make sure your goals are SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT. and TIMELY. Then use simple and easy techniques, that when combined with SMART Goals, will help you supercharge your life. Make sure you write your goals on paper in blue ink. Use prompts to keep your goals top of mind. Draw pictures that show what accomplishing your goal will look like. Finally, unleash your creativity by turning your drawings upside down to get a different perspective. Use the free SMART Goal template to start planning your goals.
Get Started Now!
Are you ready to supercharge your life? What goals are you inspired to achieve? Start your journey now by downloading and using this free SMART Goal template (PDF).