Human endeavour is geared towards setting and achieving goals. Without setting certain goals or objectives, life becomes a series of chaotic happenings you can’t control. Goals and their successful attainment bring meaning and purpose to our lives. However, how often do we find ourselves pondering over how could we achieve our goals with greater efficiency. Or perhaps ponder over what led to unachieved goals. Do you often find yourself in this place? Regardless if you do not or do, this article is going to acquaint you with a “smart” goal setting technique -smart quite literally.
Why set goals anyway?
Goals give our life direction by helping us stay focused on creating the future we desire. Setting goals compel us to grow and expand, transforming us into individuals we never quite thought we could be. If you’ve landed on this page you probably have set a goal or two for yourself- but is your goal-setting effective?
Many times people set goals but aren’t able to achieve them; this could be because the goals they have set aren’t compelling or exciting enough. You’re more likely to invest time and energy into something that you’re excited about; we’re talking of a goal that makes you jump out of the bed in the morning. Different goals hold different levels of importance for everyone. For instance, you may set goals for your organizations performance and target for achieving the same while someone else may set goals to improve on their work performance.
So, how do you set exciting and compelling goals?
- Define WHAT YOU WANT- What is it that you want to achieve? This could be anything from getting a degree, learning another language, leading a healthier lifestyle or setting new targets at your place. Clearly defining what you want to achieve is the first step to actually achieving it.
- Define WHY YOU WANT- Why do you want to achieve the goal you have set? What will it bring you? Knowing why you want to move towards achieving a particular goal should be enough of a motivation for you. Remember: the stronger your WHY the motivated you will be towards getting it.
While setting your goals, make sure they are SMART goals.
What is SMART goal setting?
SMART goals are well structured and organized goals, instead of the regular vague resolutions. SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards certain objectives with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. Every goal or objective can be made SMART, and in that way, much more realistic and attainable.
Why must you set SMART goals?
We often tend to set goals but may not always be successful at achieving them. There could be a number of possibilities for the same but the most common ones tend to be due to a lack of interest in achieving your goal, expecting too much work from oneself, not setting deadlines or probably sometimes even setting unrealistic goals! Here’s where SMART goal setting comes to play. This type of goal setting technique takes into consideration all aspects of setting a “smart” goal and weighs all the factors that may go wrong with a regular goal setting or contingency plan.
What does S.M.A.R.T goal setting stand for?
We suggest you think of a small goal you want to achieve right now. Now, to make this goal a SMART one, it needs to conform to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
While setting goals, make sure they follow these principles. A goal should be:
- Specific: It is imperative you set extremely specific goals. Think: What exactly do you want to achieve? The more specific your goals, the likelier you are attaining them. SMART goal setting clarifies the difference between “I want to rich” v/s “I want to make $50,000 every month for the next ten years by launching my business in the market”.
Questions you may ask while setting SMART goals are:
-What do I want to achieve?
-Why do I want to attain this goal?
-What are other possible alternatives towards attaining the same?
- Measurable: Establish criteria for measuring progress towards the attainment of each goal. Define how each goal will be measured, whether numeric or descriptive. Measuring progress –or no progress- helps you stay on track and calculate the how far you’ve come. You may choose to rectify your strategies towards your goals should you notice you have not come very far in achieving the same.
Questions you may ask yourself are:
-How will I know when the desired results are achieved?
-How will I verify the achievement of my goal?
- Attainable: Is your goal attainable? It is imperative you weigh the effort, time and other costs your goal may take against the profits it has to offer and other obligations and priorities you have in your life. If you can’t actually attain your goal it will only serve to frustrate and dishearten you. You’re not going to create a billion-dollar business over night or become a rock concert artist. There is nothing wrong with shooting for the stars and believing you can achieve a goal with the necessary efforts it demands, however, while setting a goal make sure it is realistic, which brings us to the next point…
- Realistic: A goal must represent an objective towards which, you must be both, willing and able to work. A goal may be high and realistic; it is you who decides how high your goals are going to be. There are no dreams or goals too grand, but you do have to be realistic. Make sure the goal you set is something you are willing and capable of doing. It is imperative you do a SWOT analysis of yourself and your goals; this will give you a better perspective on how realistic and attainable your goal is.
- Timely: Setting a deadline for your goal creates a sense of accountability within you. Knowing you have to accomplish a certain task in a given period of time makes you more responsible towards your goals, which help you effectively attain the same.
Having this level of clarity adds power to your goals and ensure you can measure your progress more effectively and the take new actions. Another important aspect while setting SMART goals is your attitude towards the goals you have set. Do you take them POSITIVELY? Remember: what you focus on increases. The SMART goal setting strategy can be used in all aspects of life and when implemented religiously, is capable of helping you achieve your goals that may transform your life and you.
Happy SMART goal setting!