We all want to achieve something in life. Without any goals or purpose, we can end up feeling lost and frustrated. But how can you set goals you can really achieve? The trick is to be smart about it. SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relative and Time-based. But what does that really mean?
Why Goals are Important
Most people that we consider succesful did not achieve great success by pure chance. Instead, successful people and achievers set goals. Because setting goals provides long-term and short-term vision and motivation. It helps you choose how to use your time, energy and money so that you can make the most of your life.
Setting sharp, clear goals allows you to measure your achievements and feel satisfied with your progress. It will boast your self-confidence because you recognize your own skills, abilities and competence in achieving the goals you set yourself.
Why SMART Goals are Important
Have you set goals in the past? You probably have. But if you found it difficult to achieve them that may have been because they were too vague, unrealistic or not well-defined. Working toward unclear goals can be hard or simply unachievable. Creating SMART goals can help you solve these problems. Whether it is personal or professional goals you are setting, using the SMART framework can help you achieve real success.
Be as clear and specific as possible in what you want to achieve. The more you narrow the goal, the more specific you can be in the steps necessary to achieve it. So start by defining what exactly you want to achieve. Be specific. It helps to ask yourself questions like why you want to achieve this, why it is important to you, and what the end result will be.
- Not Specific: I want to get a position in management in a company
- Specific: I want to get a position in managing a development team in a social media company
Make it Measurable
How will you know that you are making progress? For example, when trying to find a specific job you could measure progress by the number of applications you apply to and the number of job interviews you have. Setting milestones along the way will help you re-evaluate and correct your course if needed. When you achieve your milestones, be happy and celebrate your success.
- Not measurable: I will check job vacancies at some tech companies
- Measurable: I will apply to three job applications for the position of manager of a development team in a social media company.
Set Achievable Goals
There is no point in having a measurable goal that is impossible to achieve. So another aspect of SMART goals is checking if your goal is realistic. You want to set goals that will really challenge you. But not in a way that is unrealistic. Setting goals you can reasonably accomplish within a certain timeframe will keep you motivated and focused.
Using the examples mentioned before about getting a managing position in a social media company, you should know the credentials, experience and skills necessary for such a job. Before you start working on a goal, check whether it is something you can achieve now or whether you need to take additional steps first, like doing a course or eduction. If that is the case, set those as intermediary goals.
- Not achievable: I will read up one what I need to know and talk my way through the job interview for the position of manager in a social media company.
- Achievable: I will update my resume with relevant qualifications, so I can apply to three vacancies for manager in a social media company.
Make it Relevant
The goal is now defined, measurable and achievable, but is it relevant? A SMART goal has to be relevant. When setting your goals, ask yourself whether or not they are relevant. Each of your goals should align with your values and long-term goals. If a goal does not contribute toward your ultimate lont-term goal in life you may want to rethink it. Ask yourself why the goal is important to you, how achieving it will help you and how it will contribute toward your long-term goals.
- Not relevant: I want to start my own travel agency. So I want to learn how to manage a team and I will update my resume with relevant qualifications and apply to three open positions for the manager in a social media company.
- Relevant: To achieve my goal of being in leadership, I will update my resume with relevant qualifications so I can apply to three open positions for the manager in a social media company.
Set a Date
A SMART goal will always be time-related because you can usually not achieve your goal without a deadline. A deadline provides motivation and makes you focus on the steps necessary to reach your goal in time. Giving your goals time constraints keep you on track.
That means you must answer some questions: when do I want to achieve this goal? Then get more specific, is it in one year, five months, six weeks, seven days? Without a time frame you cannot make a plan, and will not achieve your goal.
- Not time-based: To achieve my goal of being in leadership, I will update my resume with relevant qualifications sometime in the coming few months so I can apply to three open positions for manager in a social media company.
- Time-based: To achieve my goal of being in leadership, I will update my resume with relevant qualifications so I can apply to three open positions for manager in a social media company this week.
Why Use SMART Goals?
By using the SMART principle, you are more likely to achieve your goals and be efficient and effective. SMART goals have several advantages. For example, they are not vague. SMART goals are specific and incorporate your plans. You always know the next steps to take while working towards your goal. By making them measurable, you will be able to track your progress. And you dealines help you stay on track.
How to Write SMART Goals
How do you write SMART goals? Well, it starts with asking yourself a lot of questions. The answers will narrow down your options and define your strategy. From there, goals will become clear and attainable. Always be positive and optimistic. While being realistic is part of the process, it is also important to be positive. What do you really want to achieve? Think big. You can always adapt if necessary. The great thing about using SMART to define your goals is that it can be fun. And it is always going to leave you with greater insights into your goals.
To help you set SMART goals, click on the picture below and download it to your phone.
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