Are there times when you work hard but don’t get results? Looking back over the past five or ten years, you may see little improvement in your skills or performance. Or maybe you’re having trouble figuring out how to achieve your ambitions in the years to come.
Many people drift from one job to another, or are in a rush to get more done, but spend their lives accomplishing very little. Setting SMART goals helps you clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life. In this article, we’ll look at what SMART goals are and how they can be used to achieve them.
Table of Contents
- What is a SMART Goal in simple words?
- Pros & Cons of Setting SMART Goals
- How do I write my SMART Goals?
- Importance of SMART Goals Setting
- SMART Goal Examples
What is a SMART Goal in simple words?
Goals are part of every aspect of your business/life, providing direction, motivation, clear focus, and importance. Goal setting gives you a goal to strive for. SMART goals are used as a guide for goal setting. SMART refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound. SMART goals, therefore, include all these criteria to help you focus your efforts and increase your chances of achieving your goals.
SMART Goals are:
S – Specific: What actions will you take to achieve your goal?
M – Measurable: Specific criteria for measuring progress toward achieving goals.
A – Achievable: Is your Goal Achievable? Do you have that many skills & knowledge to achieve that goal?
R – Realistic: Reachable, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose.
T – Time Bound: Use a clearly defined schedule, including start and target dates. The whole purpose is to create urgency to achieve the Goal within the time frame.
S – Specific
When setting goals, be specific about what you want to achieve. Think of this as your goal mission statement. This isn’t a detailed list of how to achieve your goal, but it should provide an answer to the common ‘W’.
Who – Think about who needs to be involved to reach your goals (this is especially important when working on group projects).
What – Think carefully about what you want to achieve and don’t be afraid to get into the details.
When – For more information on this question, see the “Time Limits” section of the S.M.A.R.T definition. A goal, but at least a time frame should be set.
Where – This question doesn’t always apply, especially when setting personal goals, but if you have a location or related event, list it here.
Which – Identify relevant obstacles and requirements. This question will help determine if your goals are realistic. For example, if your goal is to start a bread-making business and you’ve never baked bread before, this could be a problem. As a result, you can learn how to bake to open the details of a single goal.
Why – What is the reason for your goal? When using this method for employees, the answer is likely to be in the direction of company advancement or career development.
For example, a common goal might be “I want to get in shape.” A more specific goal is, “I want to join the gym at my local community center and work out four days a week to get fit.”
M – Measurable
A SMART goal should include criteria for measuring progress. Without a baseline, you can’t judge your progress and whether you’re on the right track to reach your goals. To make your goals measurable, ask yourself:
- As indicated by the ‘M’ in SMART, you need a source of information to measure or determine whether your goals have been met.
- M is a direct (or indirect) measure of what the success of a particular goal will be.
- Measurement can be difficult, requiring managers and employees to work together to identify the most appropriate and actionable data sources and collection methods. The data collection work required to measure a goal can be included in the action plan for that goal.
- A perfect and direct source for measuring a particular goal is not immediately actionable, but the desired result (why is that goal important) and what it can be measured (what is success?) is an important and worthwhile part of performance planning.
- Measurement methods can be both quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative methods include productivity results, money saved or earned, etc. and qualitative methods include customer testimonials, surveys, etc.
For example, build on the specific goals above.
One wants to get a gym membership at his local community center and work out four days a week to get fit, with a goal of dropping a pound of body fat each week.
A – Achievable
SMART goals should be achievable. This will help you understand how to achieve that goal and work towards it. The achievability of a goal should be scaled in a way that makes it seem difficult but defined enough so that it can be achieved. Ask yourself:
- How to reach your goals?
- If you have the necessary tools/skills,
- If not, consider what it takes to achieve them.
Based on your previous experience and qualifications, you may be wondering if developing the skills needed to become a marketing manager is realistic. For example, do you have the time to effectively complete the required training? Do you have the necessary resources? can you afford it?
R – Realistic
SMART goals should be realistic in that they can be realistically achieved given the resources and time available. A SMART goal is probably realistic if you believe you can achieve it. Ask yourself:
- Are the goals realistic and achievable?
- Is the goal achievable with the time and resources?
- Can you promise to reach your goals?
You may be looking to develop the skills to become a Marketing Manager in-house, but is there a right time to complete the required training or obtain additional certifications? Are you sure you’re the right person for the Marketing Director position? Have you thought about your partner’s goals? For example, if you want to have a family, will it be harder for you to get an education in your free time?
T – Time Bound
Every goal should have a target date so that you can focus on the deadline and work toward something. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps prevent daily tasks from overriding long-term goals.
A time-bound goal typically answers the following questions:
- What can you do in half a year?
- What can you do in 6 weeks? What can i do today?
For example, building on the goals above.
Pick up your gym membership at your local community center on November 1st. To get healthier, I exercise four days a week. My goal is to drop one pound of body fat each week. By the end of November, I plan to reach my goal of losing 10 pounds of fat in a month.
Pros & Cons of Setting SMART Goals
SMART is an effective tool that gives you the clarity, focus, and motivation you need to reach your goals. You can also improve your ability to reach your goals by encouraging them to define goals and set completion dates. SMART Goals are also easy to use by anyone, anywhere, without the need for special tools or training.
Various interpretations of SMART goals it invalid or misleading. Some believe that SMART is inflexible and unsuitable for long-term goals, while others believe it can stifle creativity.
How do I write my SMART Goals?
- Start by thinking about all your work and broad areas (or “buckets”) of accountability and outcomes for which you are responsible.
- Create a goal statement for each bucket. Remember to focus on the result, not the task of getting the scope right.
- Goals should be high enough to cover the key outcomes for which you are responsible but specific and clear enough so that success can be measured.
- Goals should be ongoing professional responsibilities and new projects, tasks, priorities, or initiatives specific to this performance cycle. Too many goals can indicate that your goals are too low and that the task is more important than the result.
- If your goals seem too task-oriented, it may help to consolidate multiple goal statements into a broader range of outcomes.
Importance of SMART Goals Setting
Individuals or organizations often prepare for failure by setting broad, unrealistic goals, such as: “I want to be the best at X.” This goal is vague and disorienting.
SMART goals set you up for success by making your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. The SMART method helps you keep moving forward, gives you a sense of direction, and helps you organize and reach your goals.
SMART Goal Examples
SMART Goal Examples for Work
- Specific: I will start a profitable business of selling fast food.
- Measurable: I will spend at least 2-3 hours per day in selling & marketing my business.
- Achievable: I love cooking, so from now onwards I will use my cooking skill to make tasty fast-food items.
- Realistic: There is a huge demand for fast food in the market and people love quality food. So, I will offer them delicious food which would earn me extra money.
- Time-bound: I will start working on the selection of the food menu and will start my work on 1st of November.
SMART goal example for increasing sales
- Specific: Sales techniques always need to be upgraded. I will learn some new sales techniques to increase my sales at work.
- Measurable: My goal is to increase my sales in four months by two times.
- Achievable: I have been a sales executive for two years and I know the basics of sales.
- Realistic: By using my sales techniques, the sales will increase up to the mark.
- Time-bound: I will start my sales tactics & implement it by coming Monday.
The SMART goal of learning a new Language (Let’s say, French)
- Specific: I want to learn the French Language to communicate with my French Colleagues.
- Measurable: I will install Duolingo and use it to learn the basic words and sentences for daily use.
- Achievable: I always enjoy learning new languages. So far, I have learned German and English. Hence, I am confident that I can learn French also.
- Realistic: With the help of the Duolingo app I have learned German and by there I will learn French also very easily.
- Time-bound: I am starting to learn French from coming Monday and within six months I will be able to communicate in French with my colleagues.
Thanks for reading the article!
While achieving SMART Goal there may be a point comes when you feel demotivated. So, to overcome that you need some inspiration. For that, we have posted some inspirational quotes which will help you to stay focussed on your SMART Goal.