As professionals, we know that setting goals and pushing ourselves is a positive thing; that’s how we grow. However, sometimes it seems that people are either in the habit of pushing too hard or not pushing hard enough. Straining to complete your goals can be too stressful, sending you into a downward spiral that leaves you less confident if you don’t achieve them when setting goals in the future. Not stretching yourself to reach your goals may leave you underdeveloped and further behind.
Whether you’re creating goals for the New Year or for a specific project, there’s a fine line that needs to be walked, and the SMART method can act as your balance pole on that tightrope.
S = Specific: What is it that you want to accomplish? And as said by the name, you want to be specific so make sure to get into the nitty-gritty. Answer questions like who needs to be included in your plan, when you want to start working toward it and why it’s even a goal in the first place. Break it down to the good ole who, what, when, where and why.
M = Measurable: A person running a marathon knows they’ve achieved their goal when they complete it in a certain amount of time or cross the finish line. Fitness folks know they’ve completed their goal when they hit a certain number on the scale or can lift a specific amount of weight in the gym. How can you measure the progress of your goal, and how will you be able to identify when you’ve met it?
A = Agreed: Is this goal something that you’re on board with? Make sure you’re aligned with your manager, coworkers, or just simply make a commitment to yourself that it’s the right goal for you. After that, figure out how it’s going to drive results for your company, industry, team, etc. and describe what that looks like.
R = Realistic: Are you stretching yourself too thin? Is the goal actually achievable? Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take some time to plan and take inventory. Do you have access to the tools you need? Do you have capacity to work on the goal along with your other commitments? Do you have the team to help you bring everything together? If not, it may be necessary to go back to the drawing board.
T = Time-bound: Create a realistic deadline. This step is very important because it keeps you accountable. For example, if I had an online blog and my goal was to increase web traffic 200% by the end of the year, I would be more likely to make sure I have a consistent schedule of when to publish blogs to try and achieve that goal. Without the time-bound aspect, my goal is left open-ended and I may post more sporadically.
From here, you have your ideas on paper, and it’s time to bring them all together. Review what you’ve written in each SMART section and craft a goal statement that envelops each part of it. It will act as a summary for you to review while still having the option to look at the details of your goals as needed.
Without goals, life feels stagnant. We want to keep progressing in all areas of life, so give these tips a shot to become an expert goal-setter.
Has the SMART method worked for you? Tell us about it below or contact us with your example.
(Please note that all thoughts and opinions are my own. In no way, shape, or form, do I speak for the Kellogg Company regarding their values, stances, etc.)
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