Driving in the car is often when I find myself having some of the best conversations. This particular car ride had a back drop different than most of my other rides. To begin with, it was December and yet it was 90 degrees outside. The windows were up with the air conditioner on to keep the humid Thai air outside of the Honda Civic I was riding in. The car weaved in and out each lane of traffic on the left-hand side of the road. To a person unfamiliar with being in a car in Thailand, it appeared to be chaos. For my brother in law Jon, it was a part of normalcy. Jon and I were just reunited after two years. Jon and his wife Marisa serve for Thailand Campus Crusade for Christ. Our family had gathered together for Christmas in Thailand and we were thrilled to be together again.
As motorbikes swerved in between lanes and taxis weaved in and out of traffic, I asked Jon about effective strategies he used to mentor young men. One of the things that stuck out to me was to set goals together. Goal setting had been an effective tool for Jon when he served at the University of Arkansas. As we discuss the idea, I immediately was reminded of a talk that Jared, my mentor in college gave. Jared shared about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Here is more about what he discussed:
S: Specific A vague goal is hard to accomplish because you do not know when it is finished. For example, if your goal is to be a better runner, it is more difficult to know when you have succeeded. Run a 5k is more specific.
M: Measurable A goal that you can’t measure is another way to see if you have succeeded. A goal to lose weight isn’t as good as a goal to lose 20 lbs.
A: Actionable Begin each goal with an action verb. Start, Complete or Finish are good examples. Goals that start with Be, Learn or Do make it harder to know how to begin the process.
R: Realistic A goal that isn’t rooted in reality will be hard to achieve. As a high school student, I was never going to play in the NFL. Having that as a goal wasn’t realistic. However, starting varsity as a junior was a goal of mine that was very realistic.
T: Time Bound A deadline always helps motivate us to success. Give yourself a deadline with your goals. If you know there is a book that would be good for you to read, set a goal to read it by the end of the month rather than just to finish it.
I look forward to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for myself and with the men I mentor in the future. Thanks, Jon and Jared for the great advice. For more information on the value of goal setting, I suggest Michael Hyatt as a great resource.