Twenty-five feet.

Having always been a Minnesota Vikings fan, I usually learned the hard way and bet with my heart instead of my head.  It seemed as though my favorite team in purple always found a way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, and come up just a little short.

Nothing reflects that statement more than Adrian Peterson’s attempt to break a 28 year old NFL record for most rushing yards in a season.  Peterson, after having knee surgery just a year ago, finished 8 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s record.  A mere 25′ more, and a new record would have been established.  Peterson’s strong off season rehabilitation, and SMART goal setting allowed him to finish with the second most rushing yards in the history of the NFL.

SMART goal setting can be just as important when it comes to home improvement projects around the house.  Without a game-plan, the average home owner can, and quite possibly will, struggle with home renovation adventures.  The goal of your remodeling (or any) undertaking should include the following, use the acronym SMART to help remember this key aspect:

Specific:  Any goal must have complete details on what is to be accomplished.  The goal must be simple to understand, well defined, and filled with clarity.  A person cannot say, “I want a more energy efficient house.”

Measurable:  Comparisons are usually employed at this level.  If you have windows that only have an R Value of 1, a measurable goal may be to increase the insulating value to a value of 4 or 5.

Attainable:  In laymen’s terms, “you need to be able to hit the bulls-eye.”  The goal should stretch your comfort zone a little farther, but still be realistic and possible.  If you need more storage place in your house, adding onto the garage may not be realistic, but organizing your existing storage area may be possible.

Relevant:  A goal must directly relate to the purpose.  If your goal is to add on another bedroom, the additional expense of a theater room is not relevant to your goal.  This is a common mistake that homeowner’s make during the remodeling phase, and it is important to not let yourself slip into the depths of irrelevancy.

Time-Bound:  This aspect defines a period for meeting the goal.  It provides for a deadline, and incremental measurements.  “We want to replace our windows someday,” doesn’t cut it, but “We want to replace the lower level windows this spring, and complete the upper level before winter,” is an excellent example of a time bound goal.

The use of SMART goal setting will help make your remodeling project less stressful, and more enjoyable for yourself, your family, and for your contractor.