We’re all familiar with goals. How often have you set a goal and you don’t exactly make it past the thought? *(Yep… I’m guilty of that as well.)
The goals we often set aren’t very structured. Most often all we really focus on is the result and not the steps on how to effectively reach our goal. We trek through the days just reminding ourselves of the general goal but nothing more.
Setting goals is important because it gives us a sense of direction. Essentially goals are like a road map that guides us to our destinations and allows us to track our journey.
SMART Goals are a simple tool used to form an actionable plan for results. They help improve achievement and success.
So what are SMART Goals?
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based goals. SMART Goals state a desired future achievement and define exactly what the future state looks like and how it would be achieved and measured.
Let’s break down the acronym…
SPECIFIC: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal answer the six “W” questions:
- Who is involved?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Where will this happen? Identify a location.
- When will this happen? Establish a time frame.
- Which requirements and restraints will be part of the process? Identify them.
- Why am I setting this goal? Jot down the specific reasons and benefits of accomplishing this goal.
By answering these questions, your goals will be well-defined and focused. This will also provide enough detail so there is no indecision as to what needs to be done.
MEASURABLE: Establish concrete criteria for measuring the progress towards the attainment of each goal. A goal is measurable when it is easy to determine if it has been accomplished.
ACHIEVABLE: One of the biggest mistakes people make while setting goals is that they set unattainable goals. Goals should be set high, but they must also be realistic.
RELEVANT: Your goals should be important to YOU. Goals should be important to the work and focus on results. A goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work.
TIME-BASED: Any effective goal MUST have a target date. Make sure each goal has a specific time frame for completion. A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame there is no sense of urgency.
Seems like a lot of work huh? Well things worth waiting for don’t come easy! Let’s break down the benefits of creating SMART Goals.
SMART Goals provide a structured approach to the planning, implementation and monitoring of your goals progress and success. Creating SMART Goals give you a sense of control. With the specific details, it is easier to visualize what success will look like and also gives you a clearer sense of time as to when you will potentially reach the success of your goal. Typically large goals are overwhelming, but when you break them down into smaller [SMART] goals it makes it easier to visualize, and it improves your confidence in having the ability to reach the larger goal (even if in smaller steps)!
Remember, you can’t manage results but YOU CAN manage the process.
Work SMART’er, not harder.
Here is a tool provided by SparkPeople.com to assist you in laying out your first SMART Goal. Click here to access the SMART Goal-Setting Worksheet.
Now carry on… get started on those SMART Goals TODAY!
-Setting Smart Goals. (n.d.). Signal Hill. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://www.signalhillspot.com/work/setting-smart-goals.555086
-How to Set and Reach SMART Goals. (n.d.). SparkPeople. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1794&page=2