What is a SMART goal? In this blog post, you will learn what a smart goal is and what to think about when setting them.
What does S.M.A.R.T. stand for?
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Let’s break them down;
What exactly do you want to achieve?
The more specific you describe your goal, the higher the chance you’ll complete it. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting defines the difference between ‘I want to be a millionaire’ and ‘I want to make $50,000 a month for the next two years by selling my new product online’.
Questions you may ask yourself when setting the specific areas for your goals and objectives are:
How will you demonstrate and evaluate success when you achieve it?
Measurable goals mean that you identify what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. It involves dividing your goal down into quantifiable components or objectives that you will pass along the way as you work towards your goal.
Measurable goals also help filter what it is that you want and need. Establishing the physical manifestations of your goal or objective makes it more transparent, and easier to reach.
Is your goal attainable? Is it realistic?
Dig deep and work out whether the goal is fair to you, your staff and or your business. Weigh in the effort, time and other costs your goal will require, against the profits and the other commitments and priorities you have in life.
If you don’t have the money, the talent and most importantly, the time to reach a specific goal, you’ll be indeed more likely to fail and with that be miserable. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take something that seems improbable and make it happen by planning smartly and giving it a go!
Do this goal serve a purpose? Does it add value to you or your business model?
Is reaching your goal relevant to you and your business? Decide for yourself and or the company whether you are the right fit for it, or your team has the capabilities to achieve.
If you need certain skills, you can outsource or train staff. If you require resources, you can look for ways of obtaining them.
The central question is, why do you want to reach this goal? Will it deliver the outcome that you or your business needs?
Set one or more target dates and stick to them. Adding ‘by when’ guides your goal to success.
Time is money! Make a qualified plan for everything you do. Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people kick into gear and get things done. So establish deadlines, for yourself and your team, and go after them. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible. Being too forceful on the timely aspect of your goal setting can have the contrary effect of making the path to achieving your goals and objectives into a hellish race against time.
SMART goal setting brings structure and trackability to your goals and objectives. Instead of vague promises, SMART goal setting creates valid trajectories towards a specific end. Including clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. Every objective or goal can be made S.M.A.R.T. – bringing it closer to reality.
With the SMART checklist, you can evaluate your objectives. SMART goal setting also creates transparency. It clarifies the way goals came into existence, and the models their realisation will deliver.
So what does a SMART goal look like?
Here is an example:
Regular goal: I want to start a business.
Specific goal: I will sell handmade chairs via an eCommerce store.
Measurable: The website will be ready to take the first order within four weeks, and the business will aim to sell a minimum of five chairs per week.
Attainable: I will get set up the online store first. Then I will build an inventory of 40 handmade chairs to sell. Finally, I will promote my online store and build customer relationships through digital marketing, referrals and local networks.
Relevant: Selling handmade chairs online will allow me to benefit financially from my favourite hobby.
Timely: My e-Commerce store will be up and running within four weeks, and I will have an inventory of 40 chairs to sell within eight weeks.
Within a month, I am going to get set up to sell handmade chairs on on an e-Commere online store, which will allow me to benefit financially from my favourite hobby. Within six weeks, I will have an inventory of 40 handmade chairs to sell and aim to sell a minimum of five chairs per month, building customer relationships through digital marketing, referrals and local networks.
1. Think about the big picture:
SMART goal setting is about breaking goals down into parts. At the start of the process, before you run your goal through the SMART goal criteria, it can be helpful to begin at the end and work backwards – reverse engineer. When you have the big picture in mind, it’s often easier to stay focused through the process and make the goal manifest.
2. Get down to the nitty-gritty:
Once you have the big picture in your mind, you need to take the opposite approach and focus on the details. When you start to break your goal down into smaller steps in order to fulfil the “measurable” and “attainable” SMART criteria, include actions and milestones that are as small and as specific as possible. The lower the steps you take, the easier it will be to make forward-moving momentum and find progress.
3. Use a systemized formula:
SMART goal setting is about using a method that, when executed successfully, will get you from point A to point B more smoothly and efficiently. The more structured you are in your process, the easier it will be to make progress. Use SMART worksheets, examples and tools to get started. Resist the familiar urge to set goals in your head and leave them there! Write everything down!
4. Track your progress:
When you are entrenched in reaching your goal and focused on the daily activities you need to take, it can be simple to forget where you are in the process of achieving your end goal. Plan regular goal check-ins to gauge your progress. Examine your next steps and celebrate your success. This is not only an excellent way to make sure you’re on the right track, but it will also let you enjoy your progress and stay motivated to keep moving forward.
5. Set an end date:
Open-ended goals are wrong for many reasons; one of which is that there is no urgency or time pressure to encourage progress and moving forward. No end date often means slower progress. That’s why the “time-based” part of SMART goal setting is so crucial. Think through the timeline for your goal when you are first getting started and break it down into smaller milestones so you can easily see your success at each stage.
Now you what SMART goals are it’s time to put theory into practice.