Last week we started to look at the SMART model, an acronym for the 5 important characteristics of effective goalsetting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Limited. The SMART-model is a tool to help you set and achieve motivating goals to kick-start you towards your desired direction:
ACHIEVABLE: The goal should be achievable. When it comes to the better sleep example, this excludes goals such as “sleep like I did when I was younger” because (in addition to being non-specific) then you likely had a different daily rhythm and sleep needs, i.e. that goal would be both unrealistic and not plausible.
Interim goals can sometimes be important to keep motivation up. Achievable means that your goal should be desirable and challenging, but still reasonable. For example, the goal “I will sleep and feel rested on average minimum 5 nights per week and without regular use of sleep medicine” might require interim goals, such as step wise reduction in medication if you have been used to this.
Also, an interim goal could be reducing stressors in life, such as changing work hours, division of labour or implementing new sleep routines for more members of the family if your sleep problems are related to stress and current life style.
RELEVANT: The goal must be meaningful. Saying that “I’m going to sleep for at least 10 hours per night” is not appropriate because it’s not controllable and it could probably make you tired because it’s more than what is normally considered healthy for a non-stress-damaged person. But of course, optimal amount of hours for sleep is individual.
Research shows that in general a more realistic goal is to on average sleep at least 7 hours per night. If it gets lower it is important to ensure compensatory rest and get more sleep the night after.
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