you ever feel like you're working hard but not getting the desired
results? This may be because you’re working hard but just not
working smart? Smart planning and breaking down your goals may be a
great way to achieve your desired results.
Goals are a part of every aspect of business/life and provide a sense of direction, motivation, and focus. By setting goals, you are providing yourself with a target to achieve.
A SMART goal is used to help guide goal setting.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
A SMART goal incorporates all of these criteria to help focus your efforts in one direction and increase the chances of achieving your goal.
Let’s have a brief look at S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting:
SMART Goal – Specific
Goals that are specific have a significantly greater chance of being accomplished. To make a goal specific, the five “W” questions must be considered:
Who: Who is involved in this goal?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Where is this goal to be achieved?
When: When do I want to achieve this goal?
Why: Why do I want to achieve this goal?
SMART Goal – Measurable
A SMART goal must-have criteria for measuring progress. If there are no criteria, you will not be able to determine your progress and if you are on track to reach your goal. To make a goal measurable, ask yourself:
How do I know if I have reached my goal?
What is my indicator of progress?
SMART Goal – Achievable
A SMART goal must be achievable and attainable. This will help you figure out ways you can realize that goal and work towards it. The achievability of the goal should be stretched to make you feel challenged, but defined well enough that you can actually achieve it. Ask yourself:
Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
Have others done it successfully before?
SMART Goal – Realistic
A SMART goal must be realistic in that the goal can be realistically achieved given the available resources and time. A SMART goal is likely realistic if you believe that it can be accomplished. Ask yourself:
Is the goal realistic and within reach?
Is the goal reachable, given the time and resources?
Are you able to commit to achieving the goal?
SMART Goal – Timely
A SMART goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. If the goal is not time-constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and, therefore, less motivation to achieve the goal. Ask yourself:
Does my goal have a deadline?
By when do you want to achieve your goal?
Pros vs Cons of SMART Goals Setting
Even though setting a SMART Goal may look like an all-benefit-giving strategy, it too has its set of drawbacks. SMART is an effective tool that provides the clarity, focus, and motivation you need to achieve your goals. It can also improve your ability to reach them by encouraging you to define your objectives and set a completion date. SMART goals are also easy to use by anyone, anywhere, without the need for specialist tools or training.
Various interpretations of SMART have meant that it can lose its effectiveness or be misunderstood. It is also believed that SMART doesn't work well for long-term goals because it lacks flexibility, while others suggest that it might stifle creativity.
Often, individuals or businesses will set themselves up for failure by setting unrealistic goals such as “I want to be the best in my field within 2 years.” This goal is vague, with no sense of direction.
SMART goals set you up for success by making your goals, as the acronym says, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. The SMART method helps push you further, gives you a sense of direction, and helps you organize and reach your goals.