Change your life with SMART goals!
The soldiers of 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, set individual goals to increase performance. These help with the unit's overall mission readiness, even in cold and austere conditions. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Leon Cook)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - As any sergeant major will say, no matter how good you are at something, there is always room for improvement. Maybe you want to earn the Army Physical Fitness Badge on your next PT test. Perhaps you want to maximize your promotion points to reach the ever-increasing cutoff scores in our shrinking Army, or earn a degree with Federal Tuition Assistance.

The soldiers with 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, the test unit for the Army Performance Triad, want to maximize their mission readiness.

Wanting something is one thing, but as millions of broken New Year's resolutions show every year, setting a goal is much easier than meeting that goal. A good goal is SMART - specific, measurable, action-focused, realistic, and time-bound.

"Those are great principles to use for setting goals and I've tried to use them in my life," said 1st Lt. Joshua Williams, a platoon leader with A Troop, 3-38 Cav.

A goal should be as specific as possible. If your broad goal is to lose weight and you lose 2 ounces, you've technically met your goal. A good goal, on the other hand, would be to lose 10 pounds in the next three months.

Measurable goals are best because it's apparent if you're making progress toward meeting your goal.

Action-focused goals require an action on the part of the goal setter. For fitness goals, a personal readiness device or a health application can be a great aid in reminding soldiers of the actions they need to take.

"A lot of my soldiers are using their [personal readiness devices] as a guide to how active they are throughout the day and it's giving them a chance to gauge how many calories they're taking in versus burning," said Capt. Eric Glocer, commander of A Troop, 3-38 Cav.

Good goals are realistic. A smart goal setter needs to make an honest assessment of how much they can improve in a given period of time and base their goal on that assessment. As the old adage goes, Rome wasn't built in a day. Trying to do too much too quickly can be just as detrimental as doing nothing.

Lastly, a SMART goal is time-bound. When setting a goal, you need a deadline to reach it.

"Our goal is to be mission capable," said Capt. Eric Glocer, commander of A Troop, 3-38 Cav. "We have until our National Training Center rotation to practice our tactics, techniques and procedures and make sure we're capable of tackling whatever comes our way."

As part of the Army Performance Triad, individual soldiers of 3-38 Cav. set personal goals. Team leaders and squad leaders are charged with incorporating individual goals into soldiers' developmental counseling.

"There's involvement all the way up from the squadron commanders down to the individual soldiers, but I think team leader involvement has the greatest impact because that's who soldiers see the most," Glocer said.

The Performance Triad Pilot Program has many components yet to come, but Glocer has already noticed that the program is paying dividends.

"Our soldiers are putting more miles on their feet per day and are more motivated to lose weight. Overall, they're better able to accomplish their mission," he said.

To learn more about the Performance Triad, visit www.armymedicine.mil.

Page last updated Fri November 22nd, 2013 at 00:00