Smart goal setting is ensured by following certain steps when creating goals for yourself. SMART is an acronym for the following characteristics that should be present in your goal:
Smart goals are specific.
Specific goals are much more likely to be accomplished than vague ones! A specific goal can be determined by asking the following questions:
WHO is involved? Smart goals don’t depend on the involvement of too many people - remember, the only person you can control is yourself, so the achievement of your goal should depend on you.
WHAT do you want to accomplish? Define your aim, so you will have a clear idea of what you are aiming for. A vague ‘I want to be a better person’ is not specific enough!
WHERE will you work on your goal? Identify a location or locations where most of the work towards your goal will be carried out. If your home is the main base, you may need to revamp a few things.
WHEN do you hope to accomplish your goal? Set a time frame and specific deadline for completion. Having a specific end date will keep you from procrastinating.
WHICH factors will affect the success of your goal? What requirements do you have, and what limitations will you have to deal with? Being prepared for obstacles makes them easier to surmount.
WHY do you want to reach this goal? The reasons behind your choice of a goal are just as important as the goal itself. Looking at those reasons can often tell you quite a bit about yourself!
Smart goals are measurable.
You should be able to see the progress you are making. This allows you to feel the thrill of each milestone reached, and keeps you on track for completion of your goal. The way you find out if your goal is truly measurable is to ask another set of questions:
How much (weight do I want to lose)?
How many (laps do I want to swim)?
How will I know when the goal is reached?
Charts are a great way for you to track your progress and measure how much of your goal you have achieved.
Smart goals are attainable.
Not easy, but attainable. They aren’t based on a premise that you will suddenly become superhuman, and they don’t follow a plan of action that could be hazardous. They simply are represent what you know you are capable of if you just put some effort into it.
Each goal you reach makes the next one seem more attainable, so as you grow so can your goals! As you stretch to reach the goals you set for yourself, you find out you are capable of more than you ever thought possible. You set goals higher each time as you grow more confident.
Smart goals are realistic.
They not only take into account what you are capable of, but what you are willing to do and what your circumstances permit. A goal can be high and still be realistic. At the same time, what might seem like an easy goal to some might be difficult for you because of factors below the surface.
Setting a high goal brings a sense of greater motivation, because you can see what a great difference it will make in your life. At the same time, it can be overwhelming - so break the larger goal down into a series of smaller ones.
Your goal will be easier to accomplish if it seems realistic to you, and small goals are approached with greater confidence of success.
Smart goals are timely.
If you don’t have a time frame for the reaching of your goal, you have no real impetus. ‘Someday’ is not an acceptable deadline. Setting a date for the completion of your goal puts you in motion mentally and sets the pace for a steady race to the finish.
Smart goal setting takes into account all of the guidelines above, and helps you develop a right state of mind and a game plan for getting things done. Is your goal a SMART one?