Goal Setting The Really SMART Way
I encourage you to pick up a pen and paper and write down the goal that you want to reach and then look at the goal and evaluate it. Make any changes necessary to ensure it meets the criteria for a SMART goal. Here are the criteria:
SMART – Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Timely
Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do.
Specifics are the what, why, and how of the SMART model. What are you going to do? I suggest that you use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, develop, plan, lead, build, etc.
What is it important to do at this time? Why do you want to ultimately accomplish this? Thirdly, how are you going to do it? What are the processes that you are going to use?
I will reach this goal by doing this… Ensure the goals you set are very specific, clear, and easy.
I suggest that instead of having a goal to lose weight or to become more healthy, set a specific goal to lose 2 cm off your waistline or to maybe walk 5 miles in a very energetic way.
If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. Chose a goal with measurable progress so you can see the change occur. How will you see when you reach your goal?
Be specific. If your goal is to become a better reader, you might want to be more specific and say “I want to read 3 books by a certain amount of time.”
We need to make sure that the goals that we set for ourselves (whether they are for business, for your personal development, or for any other reasons that you might set goals) are attainable.
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true.
You develop your attitudes, your abilities and skills, and even your financial capacity to reach them. With goals that are too far out of your reach, you are setting yourself up for failure or for not reaching your goal.
Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it is too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from even giving it your best.
However, a goal does need to stretch you slightly so you can feel like you are reaching it and that you are striving for it. It is important that you are stretched a little bit in your goal setting.
It needs to be realistic. This is not a synonym for easy.
Realistic in this case means doable. It means that the learning curve is not a vertical slope, that the skill needed to do the work is available, that the project fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization.
A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it, but it should not break them. Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort.
Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you are not very capable. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement.
Set a timeframe for the goal for next week, in 3 months, or by the 5th grade. Putting an endpoint on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.
If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there is no urgency to start taking action now.
Time must be measurable, attainable, and realistic.
Everyone will benefit from goals and objectives if they are SMART. SMART is the instrument to apply in setting your goals and objectives. You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.
What’s your SMART Goal? Let me know in the comments below.