If you’ve heard the term ‘Smart Goals’ this post will hit home and act as a reminder of the benefit of how they are applied. If you are like most and aren’t familiar with Smart Goals, they are what they sound like but provide a lot of benefits.
Does it ever seem like you’re constantly working towards your goals but never actually achieving them? Or that it’s taking longer to achieve those goals than you’d like? Are you unsure of where to head next in life and how to live your best life? Have your skills remained stagnant despite your dreams changing?
This isn’t unusual, but it’s also possible to overcome, maybe it’s not you that’s the problem in achieving your goals, maybe it’s the goals themselves. SMART goals are a different way to approach goal setting and habit creation most commonly attributed to Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives concept and later fleshed out by Professor Robert S Rubin.
By setting SMART goals you will be able to better discern what you want out of life (or work) and focus yourself towards getting it in the most efficient and effective manner possible. I bet you’re all wondering what a SMART goal is though, and why I keep capitalizing the word smart, well, that’s because it’s not a word in this case, it’s an acronym.
S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, and in this article we’ll take you through the whole acronym, provide some examples, and speak to the value of this sort of goal setting. SMART goals are not a quick fix, they require determination and self awareness about your abilities and how you work as a person, but they can really help you make some awesome growth over time.
How to Employ S.M.A.R.T Goals
A lot of difficulty in goal reaching comes from the goals being too vague – okay, the majority of goals are to vague. The first step of creating a SMART goal is to be as specific as you can. Ask yourself these six important questions to narrow down your goal so it’s more specific.
- What do I want to get done?
- Where will I do it?
- When will it get done?
- Who will be involved?
- Which resources are needed and which limits are there
- Why do you want to do it?
Example of a Specific Goal
A non specific goal is “I want to eat better,” a specific goal is “I want to fit a vegetable into at least one meal for myself and my family a day until it is a habit I don’t have to think about.”
You want your goals to be measurable because without a marker of success you will lose motivation in the long run. Plus, it’s fun to watch your progress! To figure out how to make your goals measurable, ask yourself these questions.
- How much do I want?
- How many do I want?
- How will I know when I have reached my goal?
Example of a Measurable Goal
“I want to become the head of sales at my company, I will do so by completing all necessary training and obtaining all critical knowledge I will need to deserve the job within three years.”
In order for you to even start working towards your goals, you need to make sure they are attainable. Setting a gigantic and awesome goal can seem so exciting at first, but if it’s such a big task that it will take a bunch of time to complete, or is simply too complex to be doable, you won’t reach the goal and then what was even the point of setting it? If your goal is achievable you should be able to answer these questions
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is this goal based on potential constraints?
Example of an Achievable Goal
“Get the job” is achievable, but it puts the weight on the person who decides to hire you, and no matter how hard you’ve worked, you still might not get the job. However, if potential constraints have been thought of and will not be in the way, “gain the skills necessary to be a serious candidate for the position I want” is totally up to you and definitely achievable!
Tip: A can also stand for accountable, be sure to set goals you can hold yourself accountable for easily.
This is a critical step even though it can seem obvious. If you’re setting a goal then it has to be relevant to your interests and abilities, right? Well, that’s not exactly true. You can easily set a goal too far outside of the scope of your abilities and that’s not going to be helpful at all in the long run! Ask yourself these questions before you go ahead deciding to put “capture 3 Bigfoots by May” on your vision board. If the answers aren’t yes, than the goal might not be for you.
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Am I the right person to do this?
- Is it the right time to try and do this?
- Does this align with my other efforts, goals, and needs?
Example of a Relevant Goal
You really want to become a great Olympic ice skater, but you’re thirty and have never put on skates. Ask yourself the above questions about this goal, the answers will come up no, then buy yourself some roller skates and set a goal of being able to move around town like a cool kid.
Time-bound (or Timely) is the last step in building your S.M.A.R.T goal, this means give yourself time sensitive deadlines. If your goal is open ended, then what makes you likely to try and work towards it NOW? Include the answers to these questions when creating your goal and you’ll be starting off on the right foot.
- When does it need to be accomplished by?
- What can I have done by six months?
- What can I have done in six weeks?
- What can I do today?
Example of a Timely Goal
Let’s say you want to sell your antique hot wheels collection on eBay, but you have thousands! How many can you list today? How many in six weeks? How many in six months? And based on that, how long will it take you in total? By doing this you’ve created stepping stones along a seemingly insurmountable path and made your task much more bearable!
How can you apply SMART Goals to your life or business?
SMART Goals are a great tool for businesses, teams and individuals. Setting SMART goals with others adds more accountability and setting check-ins to measure your achievements will help push your specific goals in the direction of success.
When setting SMART goals, you will learn how to be more motivated and focused while setting the goals and working to achieve them. I have used SMART goals to launch websites, grow sales teams, and gain more clients. Additionally, I’ve worked with individuals to help them achieve personal and professional goals such as saving for a house or obtaining a promotion.
The biggest lesson that SMART goals have taught me is that most goals are not specific enough and/or are goals that are out of the individuals control – which means the goal isn’t smart – or SMART.
When setting your goals use this cheat sheet with the related questions. Once the goal is set, ask the question under the related letter to determine if it passes. If so move on, if not adjust accordingly.
Need help setting SMART Goals? Email [email protected] where I’ll answer specific questions related to your particular goals.