Setting S.M.A.R.T goals is a way to make sure that your goals are all the things that will help you get to where you want to go. Here is what each letter of the word SMART signifies:
Specific– Specific goals will give you direction, vague goals will lead you nowhere. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results whereas incomplete goals produce incomplete results. So when setting goals you need to be extremely clear to everyone including yourself as well as others. The goals should be specific by being exact, thorough and adept at answering questions instead of creating more.
Example: I should spend more time with the kids as opposed to I will read the kids a story every night before bed or we will bake something together every Saturday. The first example is too vague where you don’t exactly know what you will do with the kids but the second becomes more specific identifying the kinds of activities you will share with the children. Now you have a plan to work with.
Measurable– This means including dates, amounts and numbers in your goals. Such figures will also give you benchmarks to measure your success. Evaluating progress is helpful in keeping you stay focused, meeting deadlines, and feeling the thrill of getting closer to attaining your goals.
Example: I want to lose weight– too vague. But when the goal becomes I want to lose 40 pounds by August 15th, it is more specific. You have just given yourself a measure of how much weight you would like to lose along with a specific time.
Attainable– Set an achievable goal that you can accomplish within the restrictions of money, time, skills, abilities, environment and other relevant factors. It may stretch your potential but still be possible to achieve. Also, when you set an attainable goal, you can also recognize previously missed opportunities or resources.
Example: I want to make clean eating a habit for life. But how do you attain this? I want to eat cleaner by resisting junk food, planning meals before time and eating only whole foods. By imposing some sensible restrictions on your dietary habits, you have made your goal more attainable.
Relevant– Your goals should be aligned with the direction you are following in life. This means keeping goals true to your purpose and not wasting time with irrelevant goals. Keeping goals relevant helps you align focus instead of frittering your time away.
Example: I want to quit smoking is too general. But when you set up the goal as I want to quit smoking for improved health it becomes relevant to why you want to do so. You may be doing so to improve heart health, respiratory health or even to reduce internal inflammation.
Time based– Every goal needs a delivery date so there is a time frame to work within. An important component of execution is that the strategy should have an end, a time in which you are aiming to accomplish it. For better management of a big goal, you can also break it into different parts and time frames. It also creates accountability along with a sense of urgency and achievement that will come.
Example: I want to create a website to sell jewellery from my store is just a simple goal. To make it smart, you need to work along the lines of I want to create a website to sell jewellery from my store by January 31st. The website needs to be operational by the end of January so that so I can sell special valentines items before Valentine’s Day. I will use a website development company to create the site. Making a goal time specific may sometimes mean that you may need to outsource some tasks such as get a website development company to work on it.