Get SMART with SMART Goals
A lot has been written about goal setting and smart goals in particular.
But because setting goals is so important, IMO, I want to run those of you who are not familiar with the smart goal concept through it once again.
A goal is an action statement.
So start it with a verb.
Like increasing or reducing.
You are trying to change something.
It’s designed for movement so use action words like increase, decrease, build, direct, organize, read, develop and so on.
I want to increase customer satisfaction by 10% by January 2019
SMART is a handy acronym often used to develop goals.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable (Achievable), Realistic and Time-bound.
It has proven to work in theory and more importantly in practice.
Notice, however, there is no clear consensus about what the five keywords express, or even what they are in any given situation.
Goals should be Specific in behavior or specific events, meaning what has to be done.
When you divide a goal into small steps, it can be handled and attacked directly.
Is it specific enough that anyone would know the next step?
They should tell us what exactly is expected, when and how much.
They must be clear and unambiguous.
They have a starting point and ending point.
- What are you going to do?
- Why is this important to do?
- How are you going to do it?
- Who: Who is involved?
- Where: Identify a location.
- Which: Identify needs and constraints.
- When: Define a time frame.
Goals should be Measurable.
They ought to have numbers, such as: “I will make six sales this month”, “I want to read 30 books in 2018” or “I will increase my revenue by 15% by the end of 2018.”
If your goal is to “increase revenue,” that is not measurable.
This way you can measure and manage progress and know for sure if you are meeting your objectives or not.
You should be able to notice the changes occur.
So set up concrete criteria for measuring progress towards attainment of each goal.
A measurable goal answers questions such as:
- How much?
- How many?
Goals should be Attainable.
Make sure your goals are only slightly out of your reach, as opposed to ‘a promise of heaven.’
Goals are a tool to help you achieve success.
Improving your paycheck 500% in the next year, for example, could be an example of an unattainable or fanciful hope or scheme.
On the other hand, getting a 10% raise, for instance, may be realistic.
An attainable goal answers the question “How can the goal be accomplished.”
But whatever you want to achieve, your goals should be set toward the top end of what is possible.
Or in other words, if you regularly meet your goals easily you aren’t setting them high enough.
Actionable implies that when you read it over a year, you still know what has to be done.
- How are you going to reach it?
- Is it something you can do?
- Will you manage to reach your goal?
- Can you break it into actionable steps?
Realistic / Relevant
Goals should be Relevant.
Under the current circumstances, you are able and willing to reach that goal.
Because it is worthwhile, and, you are the right person to pursue it.
Doing so propels you to higher levels and helps you achieve more successes in life.
Do some research to find out if your goal is realistic.
To motivate your goals should be within reach and slightly challenging.
Knowing that your goal is just too much for you will keep you from giving it your best.
Realistic means “do-able.”
You can reach them with some effort!
A satisfying achievement is possible when the bar is set high enough.
Too complicated sets the stage for failure.
Too easy suggests a sense of inadequacy.
Be real and honest.
Can you achieve your goal with the resources at your disposal?
Does this goal fit in with other goals and life plans?
Is the goal in alignment with who you are.
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match your other efforts/needs?
Is it suitable?
Goals should be Timely.
Your goal should have a specific deadline instead of ‘someday .‘
This anchors them within a time frame.
Set a deadline or fail!
Set a time frame for your goal.
Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.
Your deadline must also be realistic of course.
When should the goal be completed?
A goal must have a starting point, ending point and fixed durations.
I am going to try to lift weight is a bad goal. (try, could, should, possibly could do, soon, by the end of the year)
I will bench press five repetitions of 200 lbs by the end of December.
Goals should be easily defined in terms of steps.
Steady advance, through well-chosen, sensible, interval steps, delivers results in the end.
Find out what those steps are before beginning.
As well as the details mentioned in the previous paragraphs on the SMART acronym, you might want to consider the following too.
Goals should be accountable for.
Without accountability, people are likely to con themselves.
Once you know exactly what you want, when you want it — and there are severe consequences for not doing the appointed work — you are even more likely to continue the pursuit of your goal.
Ask somebody inside your circle of friends and family to whom you can be accountable.
Ask this person for periodic feedback on the reports on your progress
Goals should be Visible.
Make a list of your goals, and study them at least daily.
Setting SMART Goals is a proven recipe for success.
Spending some time up front defining your goals can save you a lot of frustration and discouragement further down the road.
SMART goals are easier to craft than control.
So keep your goals in sight!
If you add E (ecology of the goal) and R (reward of the goal) to make them SMARTER, you more or less have a ‘well-formed outcome.’