Do you ever feel like you’re working around the clock without seeing any progress? Without setting tangible goals, you may be doing a lot of busy work while accomplishing very little. We encounter goals through many aspects of life. It’s easy to have ambitions, but not so easy to execute them. That is why every goal should be set as a SMART goal. Practicing SMART goal setting will help you organize your thoughts, work smarter, not harder, enhance productivity, and make real headway towards the final destination envisioned.
Turn every goal into a SMART one by following this framework:
- Specific – what exactly do you want to achieve?
- Measurable – What means/metrics will you use to track progress?
- Achievable - What is the required course of action to reach your goal?
- Realistic – What does the REAL scope look like to reach your goal?
- Time-bound – How long will it take for you to reach your goal?
Make Your Goal Specific
Your goal should be well-defined with a desirable outcome. It should be specific enough that you can clearly visualize the end result. This will set expectations, express involvement, and highlight the importance of your goal.
Generic vs specific goals examples:
- Generic: I want to become healthier
- Specific: I want to become healthier by going to the gym three times a week.
Make your Goal Measurable
It’s challenging to measure progress through the transition towards an end goal. Using metrics, either qualitative or quantitative, will help you break objectives into digestible parts. They will also guide you to stay on track and pinpoint progress towards the finish.
Good metrics are:
- A ratio or rate
- Behavior changing
Make your Goal Achievable
Stop setting impossible goals and start defining achievable ones. Impossible goals will push your limits but can cause eventual burn out. Achievable goals are challenging but well within in your reach. They are attainable because they consider available resources and capabilities necessary for accomplishment.
Make your Goal Realistic
Your goal should purposeful and come with value-added benefits. It should also be set within realistic parameters. Many of us are guilty of denial with the way things are or the requirements needed to complete something. For example, take commuting to work. You realize you’re running late so you tell yourself “it only takes 15 minutes to get there, I can leave a little bit later.” Realistically, it may take up to 30 minutes to get to work due to construction, stop lights, walking from the parking lot to the office building, etc. Instead of resisting hurdles, we should plan for them. Changing your expectations of time consumption will help you set goals within reason.
Make your Goal Time-Bound
Your goal should specify a time duration to complete it. There is a difference between doing something at our leisure verses on a specific schedule. When you assign goals deadlines, you create a sense of urgency. Forgetting to align timelines with goals can result in lack of motivation or procrastination.
SMART goal setting brings structure into the evolution of where we are today to where we desire to be. Knowing how to set SMART goals by using the SMART goal framework will help you turn your visions into actionable items. You will make more progress on things that are beneficial and conquer success.
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