SMART Goal Setting

Regardless of whether you’re planning on personal development or managing a project at work, SMART goal setting can help you get there. Setting and achieving SMART goals can help you tackle almost any project. What is a SMART goal? Keep reading to learn more about SMART goal setting and charting out your own action plan.
The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. You might find that SMART goal setting gives you a framework for your objectives and goals. Instead of having vague intentions, a SMART goal can give you a quantitative path toward achieving your goals.

What is a SMART Goal?

A SMART goal gives you direction. A concrete SMART goal will help you guide through to the finish line. SMART goals are a tool you can use to improve your chances of accomplishing a goal. They are useful in everything from project management to helping you plan a job search. SMART objectives are based on 5 principles: sprecific, measureable, achievable, relevant and time based.

Learn more about each SMART principle to help you achieve your goals and objectives.

SPECIFIC

When setting a SMART goal, it is necessary to be specific in what you want to accomplish. Consider this your goal’s mission statement. Ask yourself the following questions to help specify and narrow down your goal:
  • What: Think about what you are trying to accomplish in detail
  • Who: Who needs to be involved to achieve the goal?
  • Which: Think about which obstacles are in the way. How can you overcome them?
  • Why: Why are you trying to accomplish this goal?

Measureable

How will you determine if you’ve met your goal? The results need to be measurable. If your goal is a long term goal, consider setting milestones along the way to ensure you are on track to meet your goal.

It’s important to remember that your goal metrics can be quantitative or qualitative. Examples of quantitative business goals might include increased productivity results or money saved or earned. Examples of qualitative results might include positive feedback or testimonials.

Achievable

Make sure your goal is attainable. A challenging goal might require building new skills or changing your attitude. The goal is supposed to inspire and motivate you. Setting a goal that isn’t achievable can be discouraging. When determining if a goal is achievable, think about:
  • How you’ll accomplish the goal
  • Do you have the skills or tools to accomplish the goal?
  • If you don’t have the skills or tools, how will you obtain them?

Relevant

When thinking about SMART goals, think about their relevance. Think about how the goal relates to your company’s goals or your personal big picture plan. For example, let’s say your goal is to launch a new program for your company. However, the company currently isn’t investing in new programs. This means your goal might not be relevant to your company’s objectives.

Another thing to think about when considering relevance is how the goal will help you advance.
How is the goal helping you get ahead or pushing you forward?

Time Based

One thing that can help you succeed at your goal is setting a realistic time frame. Set a target date for your goal. Think about what you can accomplish in the given time period. Are you giving yourself enough time?

If you’re setting a long-term goal and have a big window for time, consider breaking down your goal into milestones along the way. Think about what needs to be achieved to be one third of the way there. What needs to be done by the half-way mark?

Using the SMART goal formula can help you work toward big picture triumph. Regardless of whether you’re setting personal or professional goals, SMART goal setting can help you accomplish more and achieve ongoing success.

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