Many people spend their lives shuffling or rushing around from one outpost to another, trying to get more done while accomplishing very little. By setting SMART goals, you can clarify your ideas, focus your actions, use your time productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life.
SMART goals consist of five components that ensure the goal or plan is achievable within a specific time frame. SMART stands for the components known as S-specific, M-measurable, A-achievable, R-relevant, and T-time-bound. We can use them as a metric that helps us achieve our goals step by step. These components help us make our goals clear and tangible.
Your goal should be clear, otherwise you will not be able to focus clearly on achieving it. You can help yourself with the five W-questions.
What do I want to achieve?
Why is this goal actually important?
Who is involved in it?
Where is it located?
What resources and limitations are involved?
The key to your goals is that they are trackable. When goals are measurable, it's much easier to set the finish line. You can help yourself by asking HOW.
How much time do I have?
How many resources do I have available?
How will I know that the plan has been met?
You should be realistic. This is where you come to a real reality check. If the goal is realistic, it is more likely to be achievable. If you are working in a team, you also need to set the right goal that your team can achieve. You can ask yourself:
How can I/we achieve this goal?
How realistic is it?
Sometimes you will not be able to achieve the goal, but at least you can take a stand and learn what you can change or do better next time. You will also be able to identify potential obstacles. This is how you build yourself up to become a better you.
You need to think about the big picture here. Sometimes you will need to take it step by step. Most of the time, you will also need support and help to achieve your goals. That's why it's important that your goals are relevant, because that moves everyone forward, including you. The goal is to answer your questions with "YES". This is the indicator that your goal is probably achievable.
To measure success, you need to be clear about your time horizon. Every goal needs a target date. This deadline forces you to look ahead and focus more. This will help you organize your work toward your goal. You can help yourself with time-bound questions.
When do I want to achieve the goal?
What can I accomplish in a year?
What can I do in a week?
What can I do today?
Knowing how to set your goals using the SMART method will help you achieve your goals. You will be able to plan them more easily. You will also track your progress and be more organized. You will set clear, achievable goals. You will also be more motivated and better able to predict the course of events.
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