Quite often we will set ourselves challenges or goals to help us achieve the end results that we desire.  But ask yourself, honestly, how often have you been successful in achieving your desired outcome?

Less than you’d like…right?

Was it because you didn’t try hard enough or because the things you wanted were beyond your ability to get, or maybe you’re still working toward your target but it’s just taking longer than you thought.  I don’t know the reason is the honest answer, it could be all of those things or none of those things…only you will really know.

When I want to improve on something I always map out everything that I need to do to be able to achieve it…but I do it in a smarter way!  I ask myself a series of questions to find out why I want to achieve what I want to achieve.

Let me give you an example.

I have just this week completed my three qualifying rounds of golf to get my official handicap and I now play off of 9.0  Which I was very disappointed  by because I know I am a much better player than my handicap suggests.

Now I could just  say – I want to lower my handicap…nothing else..no specifics…just a lower handicap.

That’s my goal.

I could then go out in my next round and shoot 1-under my handicap of 9 and if everything else goes in my favour my handicap would be cut by 0.2 and I would then have a handicap of 8.8 and I would have achieved my goal.

But would I be happy? – Absolutely not!

So my target setting needs to be based around what I actually want to be able to do or ‘feel like’ once I’ve reached my goal.

For me, I want to become a ‘scratch or plus figure handicap golfer’  meaning I’ll have to give the course shots to make par.  Is it achievable.  Am I good enough…right now I don’t know, I hope so.  But ‘hope so’ doesn’t get it done either.

I need to look at my starting point, analyse what I need to improve on and then go and do it….I need to set some goals…and I need to do it SMARTER.

I’ve mentioned that before…so what do I mean.  Well for me SMARTER is something I was taught many years ago that will help set a goal and maximise your chances of success.

Let’s have a look at what it stands for

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time Related
E – Exciting
R – Rewarding

Following the above guidance to set my own target here’s mine for the short term.

I want to reduce my playing  handicap to 6 (6.4) by 30 September 2010.

S – Specific – I want to reduce my playing  handicap to 6 (6.4)
M – Measurable – The Handicap Committee will keep a record of my competition rounds.
A – Achievable – There are approx ten opportunities to play in competition rounds before the deadline
R – Realistic – I feel my all round game and current form is good enough to play to a 6 handicap
T – Time Related – My deadline is 30 September 2010
E – Exciting – The pressure I’m putting on myself to achieve this gets my competitive juices flowing
R – Rewarding – When I achieve this standard I will treat myself to a night on the beers with Rich

Setting timescales and Rewarding success are great ways for me to make things exciting, add pressure and a feeling of accomplishment when I succeed…(positive thinking helps too)

Hopefully you will see that by following these set measures, I will be giving myself the best chance of achieving my goal.  This is a short term goal and I have others that I have set for medium to long term.

Be careful to note that these goals are different to things I would also ‘like to do’…for instance, I would ‘like to’ break the course record, I would ‘like to’ have more than 5-birdies in one round.

The SMARTER goal setting can be used for pretty much anything…maybe you would like to write 100 blog posts, maybe create your own product online, maybe you want to lose weight or read more books…this will help you improve your chances of success.

I look forward to hearing about your own goal setting – let us now what it is and leave your own SMARTER in the comments section.

Happy Golfing

Steve