What are SMART goals?
SMART goals provide focus and are proven to be more effective. It’s easy to set a goal but if you haven’t thought it through properly, there is a good chance you won’t meet the goal. SMART is an acronym, it means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
To achieve your goal, you have to be clear and specific to direct your motivation and efforts towards it. During the drafting process, you should answer the 5 ‘W’s which are
- What do I have to do to achieve this goal?
- Why is it important to me?
- Who will assist you in achieving it?
- Where can I find it?
- Which sources will help me achieve it?
When these 5 questions are answered you can move on to the next objective.
It’s important to have your goal measurable so that you can stay motivated towards achieving and recording your progress. Also, meeting those deadlines will give a feeling of getting close to your objective.
A measurable objective should answer the following questions:
- How much more to go?
- How will I get to know that I have achieved the measurable objective?
After measurable come achievable goals. A goal should be attainable and realistic for it to be successful. This goal should make you work at your full potential yet should be achievable. When the goal is set, you should be able to analyse all the forgone opportunities and you feel you were lacking before settling for the smart objectives.
The following questions should be answered:
- How do I get closer to achieving this objective?
- How applicable is this objective keeping in mind the externalities and finance?
An objective must be realistic in terms of its context. You should not set goals, for instance, becoming the Finance minister of a country without having the relevant and required qualifications. This goal is not realistic as the basic requirements are not met. You must keep in mind the available resources and soft skills required for achieving the objective.
You should be able to answer the following question:
- How close am I to achieving this objective?
Lastly, one of the essential parts of any objective is the time constraint. Time is scarce. Any objective can be achieved if there are no deadlines attached to it. Thus, you must be able to set deadlines and perimeters for yourself to achieve any goal. Due to the time-bound factor, you will not deviate from your original objective towards everyday errands as they will not be on your priority list.
A time-bound objective should answer the following questions:
- What is the deadline?
- By what date I achieve the objective?
- Does the objective need to be achieved in 2 months?
S.M.A.R.T criteria assists in maintaining your focus, energies, motivation and resources towards your ultimate objective. It also helps in setting and completing work before deadlines. Moreover, smart objectives do not need any special technique or prior knowledge to be used. It can be used to set all levels of goals in terms of difficulty.