Setting SMART goals is one of the secrets most successful people have in common. Goals are important because they give you vision, boost motivation, and also help you measure your progress. When you reach your goals, you have a sense of achievement that boosts your self-esteem and provides even more motivation.
On the other hand, a lack of clearly defined goals can result in apathy, lack of focus, and low productivity.
Of course, setting goals can be a two-edged sword. On the one hand, reasonable goals can help you achieve what you want to accomplish. On the other hand, goals that are set too high or that are too vague can leave you frustrated and may even hinder your progress.
The best kind of goals to set for yourself are S.M.A.R.T. goals. SMART is an acronym for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound.
In this article, you will learn how setting SMART goals can help lead you to greater success in your professional and personal life.
First of all, your goals should have a specific purpose and not be too general. For example, a general goal could be that you want to get a new job. However, a more specific goal would be to get a position managing a development team in a new company.
To develop your specific goals, try to answer questions such as what you want to accomplish, why is this important to you, and what resources do you need.
Physicist Lord Kelvin said: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”. So, the only way that goals are going to work for you is if you have a way to measure them. The way to measure your goals is to have a timeframe to help you stay focused. You should also have a system by which you know when your goal has been achieved.
Make sure that you have smaller goals to achieve in the short-term that help you attain larger, long-term goals. For example, earning more money is not a good example of a measurable goal. Earning ‘X’ amount of dollars by a specific date is more measurable.
One of the most important factors when it comes to setting SMART goals is that they are realistic. They should be ones that stretch your abilities, but no so much that you end up suffering from burnout in the process.
The possibility to achieve your goals can also depend on a number of factors such as resources available, your existing experience, existing commitments, and how much time you have.
The fourth type of SMART goal could also be substituted for terms such as resources, reasonable, or realistic. But, let’s focus on what relevant goals are.
Relevant SMART goals are ones that take into consideration a number of other conditions and factors. These goals should align with your long-term goals. For example, if you want to further your career to care better for your family, then goals of being famous or travelling the world will become irrelevant.
So, ask yourself if the goals are worthwhile, is it the right time, and if they work in harmony with other priorities in your life.
When it comes to setting effective goals, they are completely useless if there is no time limit to them. Every goal you have should have a start date and an end date. If you don’t have a timeframe for your goals, procrastination can set in and your goals will deteriorate into wishes.
Try to come up with goals that you can break down into 3 categories – what you can do today, what you can accomplish in 4 weeks, and what you can accomplish in 6 months.
For example, a goal of losing 9 kg (20 lb.) in 6 months is an excellent goal to have. To reach this goal, you need to set a daily goal of cutting down on a specific number of calories. You then need a weekly goal of getting the required amount of strenuous exercise. Then you need monthly goals to chart your progress.
Make sure and keep the timeframe realistic to keep you focused and flexible enough to prevent causing unnecessary stress.