SMART goals are the fundamental building blocks there to help you succeed in your professional life. Setting goals are important for time management when trying to reach these goals. Whether you are working towards a promotion or trying to become the captain of your sports team, these are all goals you have to set for yourself. After setting these targets we must then decide how to implement our time and resources properly to keep us on track.
That is when the SMART tool comes into play. SMART is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Based. Each part of the SMART framework allows you to plan and stay organized, motivated and to better achieve these set goals.
Implementing SMART in Your Day To Day
It is more common for people to implement SMART criteria in your professional life, but it is not limited. This tool can be used when setting any goal that you wish to achieve in an organized and timely manner. Each building block lets you analyze if the goal is understandable, how much time it will take, if it can be achieved and if the time frame you give yourself is realistic.
Let’s break it down step by step and start working towards these goals in a SMART way.
When setting our goals we have to take into account that anything broad and vague can actually be setting us up for failure. Be as specific and clear with what exactly we are trying to achieve.
Try asking yourself the five “W’s”:
- What- what specifically is it that you are trying to accomplish?
- Who- who is, or should be involved to achieve this goal?
- Where- (if this applies to your goal) where will this goal be achieved?
- Why- why is it important to you to achieve this goal?
- Which- which obstacles or resources may be involved?
For example, instead of making your goal vague and saying you want to become a social media influencer, get specific. What type of influencer so you wish to be, or which platforms will you focus on? Who is your target audience? Asking yourself these questions will help you narrow down and specify your goal.
Once you’ve come up with specific and detailed goals, it will in turn make it easier to begin measuring your progress. Figuring out a way to measure your progress makes your SMART goal begin to seem more tangible.
Some questions to ask yourself to stay you organized are:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know if I have accomplished my goal?
For example, if you are trying to start a marketing agency how do you know if you are moving in the right direction? Have you conducted enough interviews to begin staffing your team? These are the questions you must ask yourself to stay on track towards your end goal.
This may be a first thought when beginning to bring your goals to life, and can seem like it goes hand in hand with step one of the SMART process. Being specific and attainable can seem like the same thing, but they are different. People tell us to dream big and set our sights high, but making sure our goals are realistic and achievable will help us make them a reality.
- Do I have the resources needed to achieve this goal?
- Is this goal realistic?
Setting attainable goals is important to keep us motivated and not discouraged. Whether we have to learn another language or skill, this may go into making these goals attainable.
This brings us to the relevance of the SMART goal we are trying to achieve. When setting our own personal goals, especially in a business setting, we have to make sure it is relevant for the company. Our goals should be important to us, but we also want to make sure it is helpful to others around you. Making sure your goals all support each other and move you in the right direction is key.
Make sure you are able to answer yes to these questions:
- Is this goal important to me?
- Will this goal support the company as a whole?
- Am I the right person to obtain this goal?
- Is this the right time to work towards this goal?
If you answered yes to all of these questions you are ready to begin working towards achieving your SMART goal.
The final piece to the SMART puzzle is to set a start and finish time for your goal. Without a finish date there is no motivation or sense of urgency to achieve these goals. It is easy to set goals, but a time frame is imperative to your success.
Our time-bound goals should answer these questions:
- When should I begin working towards my goal?
- When is the deadline for achieving this goal?
- What should I have accomplished at the halfway point?
After answering all of these questions you now have the tools to tackle your goals the SMART way. Don’t set yourself up for failure, allow yourself time to get organized and motivated.