How to Make SMART Goals

leadership Jan 15, 2019

Most people can agree that one of the best ways to move from ‘concept’ to ‘execution’ is through goal setting. Whether you are looking to achieve a personal victory or increase productivity within your team- setting goals can be a great way to track performance, improvement, and results. But even though we all know that ‘setting goals’ is important as an abstract concept, do you personally have a proven method for setting and tracking goals that has helped you achieve success? Many of us say we have ‘goals’, but without a written down action plan, those ‘goals’ are just dreams. Introducing a formal system into your goal setting can move you from wishing for improvement to guaranteeing success.

Enter, the SMART Goal. Originally introduced by George Doran in 1981, SMART goals have helped create a systematic approach to setting goals, to help shift your goal from a desire to a specific plan of action. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound.

These 5 elements were selected to help ensure that your goals are both reasonable and achievable, and to help design an execution plan. Here are the questions you must ask yourself when creating a SMART goal:

  1. Is your goal SPECIFIC? Smart goals push you to move beyond a generic desire to an achievable objective. SMART goals take you from ‘I want to lose weight’ to ‘I want to lose 20 pounds in the next 4 months’. Being specific about our intentions opens us up to forging an achievable path toward that goal.
  2. How much do you want things to change? In other words, is there a MEASURABLE difference between where you are today and where you want to be? For instance, perhaps you want to start running. A measurable goal would be ‘I want to be able to run a 5k by April’.
  3. Is this goal realistic? SMART goals are designed to help guide you toward a successful end, but it is important that you are setting yourself up for success. Make sure your goal is ACHIEVABLE within the timeframe you design and the limitations of your current life. For instance, you can set a smart goal to make a million dollars by the end of the year, but is that a practical goal for where you are starting out? Or perhaps your goal is to be CEO of your company one day. If you are currently an intern, that may be a far-fetched for a short term goal.
  4. Does your goal fit into your current life? Goals are, by design, created to push us out of our comfort zone and to help better ourselves. But keeping our goals RELEVANT and reasonable are critical for our success. You should always dream big, but it’s important to consider other factors when making your goals as well. How will this goal affect your spouse? Family? Income? Time? These are important factors to consider.
  5. When will you complete your goal? Creating a TIMELINE to support your goal is critical for success. That doesn’t mean that if you don’t absolutely achieve your goal by that date, you are a failure. Rather, putting a date on your goal helps your designs the steps needed to meet your objective. Whether your goal was designed to take 3 months or an entire year, putting a date behind it and marking off your achievements on the way will make a big difference in getting you to your desired outcome!

Setting goals is a fantastic way to help us realize our best selves. From becoming more physically fit to earning that big promotion- setting goals helps us work toward our desires. SMART goals were designed to help make these intentions more achievable by creating a systematic approach to follow during this process. Make 2019 a year focused on success by creating Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Centered aspirations that help you be your best self!

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