This is for those that want to break through to the next level! Goals are the backbone of any successful effort, be it your career, your education, financial goals, martial arts training and physical well being like losing weight and improving your overall fitness. Most people know that they have to set goals but they may not know how to or they may lack the two most important things to do so; motivation and self- confidence. Today I am going to share with you the surefire strategy that I use weekly to SMASH through and CRUSH my goals regularly. The secret sauce to successfully achieving your goals is using what’s called the S.M.A.R.T system– Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Let’s break this down further for you using the example of Carl and his sparring sessions. Currently my friend Carl can spar for three full five-minute rounds without taking a break. He wants to increase the amount of rounds he can spar before his next big fight, which is in 8 weeks. BE SPECIFIC A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do. When you are starting on a journey to achieve a goal you need to commit to it. Commit by writing it down on a on paper. To make this more straightforward you want to specify the What, Why and How’s of what you want to happen: • WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build etc. • WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish? HOW are you going to do it? (By…) EXAMPLE: Using our sparring scenario. A general goal for Carl would be I want to increase the number of round I can spar without resting. A more specific goal would be, I want to increase the number of rounds I can spar without resting from 4 to 8 rounds by going to sparring class 2x per week and using Funk’s metabolic workouts 3 days a week to help improve my overall conditioning. MEASURABLE Creating concrete ways to measure your progress towards reaching your goals are key. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. During your process there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be tracked on your way to your goal. Choose a goal in which you can measure your progress and see change. How will you see when you reach your goal? Be specific! When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goals. EXAMPLE: Carl will measure his progress my constantly challenging himself to add an extra round in each week and gauge where he is at in journey. He wants to last 6 sparring rounds straight, so he can measure this by testing his conditioning each week. ACHIEVABLE/ATTAINABLE Goals you set which are way too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. You may have great intentions, but subconsciously you will remind yourself that it’s too much and you will stop from even giving it your best try. When you identify the goals that are important, you will develop attitudes, abilities and skills to reach them. You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. EXAMPLE: Carl can break down his big goal of increasing his sparring to 8 rounds by aiming for a 2 round improvement by week 4. He knows that it’s achievable and when he sets the goal to get to 6 in the first 4 weeks and achieves that, aiming for another 2 rounds will keep you motivated with the feeling of success. BE REALISTIC Your goal must represent an objective that you are both willing and able to work at. A high realistic goal is easier to reach than a low one because the low goal has low motivation. A goal should be both high and realistic. You are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress and you have the passion to complete it. EXAMPLE: Carl could have set his goal at increasing to one more round of sparring in 8 weeks, but that would be too low, motivational and defeat the purpose fo getting better and setting high standards. BY setting it to 4 more rounds, even if Carl gets 3 more rounds and is able to spar for 7 rounds non-stop, that is still a substantial improvement from his current 4 round pace and the 5 rounds that he would have had if he set a low goal! TIMELY Setting a timeline for a goal is the probably the most important step in the S.M.A.R.T. system. IF you don’t set a time, then your commitment is too vague, there’s no urgency and you will most likely end up quitting. Putting and exact end point on your goals gives you a clear target to work towards. EXAMPLE: Carl can finish off this goal setting process by setting his target date as the sparring session that happens 8 weeks from today. Everyone will benefit from goals and objectives if they are SMART. SMART, is the instrument to apply in setting your goals and objectives.