What is SMART Goal Setting?
SMART is an acronym for Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-Based. This type of goal setting is commonly used in businesses as well as by individuals to help them set better goals. When you set SMART goals, they’ll be the kind of goals that you’re much more likely to achieve.
Let’s look closer at each feature of a SMART goal…
The first part of a goal is for it to be specific. Vague goals like “lose weight” simply don’t work. Instead, you want a specific goal, such as “train to run a marathon by March” or “pay off all my credit cards by the end of the year by cutting down what I spend”. The other four attributes of a SMART goal will also help to ensure yours is specific.
Once the goal is identified, it then needs to be measurable. How will it be tracked? Knowing how to track your goal, then ensuring you do track your progress, can be extremely motivating to help you complete your goal on time.
After being identified as measurable, a goal must be achievable. This is essential so no one is set up for failure. Aim high, but not so high that it’s impossible to achieve. Know how you’ll put your goal into place, whether that means knowing where you can get support, where you can learn new skills, or how much work you need to put in towards your goal each week.
Goals should always be realistic. This means setting a goal that doesn’t involve too steep a learning curve, too short a time frame for achieving it, or is too strict for your particular personality. You could base your goal on something you achieved last year, so you know it’s realistic when you raise the bar that little bit higher.
If you don’t set a time frame in which to achieve your goal, then you’ll never push yourself to achieve it. You’re not making a real commitment if you don’t set a time frame. Additionally, once you have a time frame in mind, you can divide that time frame into smaller milestones to help make your goal more achievable (e.g. to lose a certain amount of weight each week).
Setting SMART goals encourages you to take a far closer look at your goals, and to get one step closer to actually achieving them. We’ve all been guilty of setting vague goals like “be happier” or “lose weight” before. With the SMART goal setting process, you can turn those goals into something that’ll really work for you.
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