Rigid, impossible-to-attain goals often do more harm than good. Instead of supporting you in reaching your objectives, they become a source of frustration.
The good news is all it needs is a tweak—and getting SMART with your approach.
What Is a SMART Goal?
SMART is an acronym developed by Arthur Miller, James Cunningham, and George Doran in 1981. It stands for every element you need to achieve your goals and objectives.
Let’s break it down further:
1. S Stands for Specific
Specific goals are clear, well-defined, and easy to understand. They contain all the necessary details on how to accomplish them, the benchmarks to set, and the deadlines to reach. The more specific you are in your goal setting, the greater clarity and focus you bring to achieving it.
Asking the following questions can help you become more detailed:
2. M Is for Measurable
Not all goals need to be quantifiable, but you can assign a numerical value to most of them. Doing so helps track progress, identify strong and weak areas, and even open doors to opportunities that were not initially apparent.
A few examples of measurable personal and professional objectives are:
3. A Refers to Attainable or Achievable
Your goal should challenge you, but it should be realistic and achievable. You do not want to set the bar too high and end up feeling discouraged.
You can ensure your objective is achievable by:
4. R Is for Relevant
What do you call an objective that doesn't impact your life? A waste of time.
The objectives you set should be relevant to your long-term vision. They should support aspects of your life, whether it is professional or professional. That is how your goals become more meaningful and actions more purposeful.
These ideas help make your goals relevant:
5. T Means Time-bound or Timely
Your goal also needs a due date, or it will become an unfulfilled dream. Having timelines for achieving milestones and final goal keeps you accountable and motivated.
You can make your objective time-bound by:
The SMART approach makes planning, tracking, and reaching objectives feasible, manageable, and, most importantly, attainable.
Keep in mind, though, that goals may change over time. What you want today may not be what you need tomorrow. Be flexible and adjust your objectives as necessary while still adhering to the SMART framework.