Do you feel like you work hard but you’re not getting anywhere? And it seems like you never fulfil your New Year’s resolutions?
Often the goals and the resolutions, which people and organisations set, are open-ended with no time limit or specific result attached to them. Therefore, the goal-setter can’t measure their success in achieving the goal. As a result, it becomes an exercise in wishful thinking.
In this article, we’ll review what SMART goals are and how you can use them to achieve your objects and resolutions.
What Does SMART Mean?
This model has been around for a while and has been used in various spheres of life. The laws of ‘SMART’, when used together, can be a powerful tool for a sharp focus of the goal you are aiming to achieve.
SMART stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
We’ll extend these definitions to show how to develop and achieve your goals.
Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise, you won’t be able to centre your efforts. When drafting your goal, answer these five questions:
What do I want to accomplish?
Why is this goal important?
Who is involved?
Where is it located?
Which resources are involved?
Imagine that you are a senior iOS developer, and you’d like to become the leader of the iOS team. A specific goal could be – “I want to gain the skills and experience necessary to become the leader of my team. In this way, I’ll develop my career, and my team will be more successful.”
It’s essential to have measurable goals so that you can track progress and stay motivated. Evaluating progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and you feel excitement when getting closer to achievement.
A measurable goal should answer questions such as:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
You might measure your goal of acquiring the needed skills by determining that you will have completed the required training courses and gained the relevant experience for two years.
Your goal must be realistic to be successful. When you set an achievable goal, you may be able to identify previously overlooked opportunities or resources that can bring you closer to it.
An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:
How can I accomplish this goal?
How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints?
You might need to ask yourself whether developing the skills required to become a team leader is realistic, based on your current experience and abilities. For example, do you have the time to complete the required training effectively? Are the necessary resources available to you? Can you afford to do it?
This step is about ensuring that your goal is meaningful to you and that it aligns with other goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it’s necessary to have control over them.
A relevant goal can answer “yes” to these questions:
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match our other efforts/needs?
Am I the right person to reach this goal?
Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
You might want to gain the skills to become a team leader, but is it the right time to undertake the required training, or work toward additional qualifications? Are you sure that you’re the right person for the role? Do you have enough free time?
Every goal needs a target date so that you have a deadline to focus on. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.
A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:
What can I do six months from now?
What can I do six weeks from now?
What can I do today?
How long will it take you to acquire the needed skills? Do you need further training for exams or qualifications? It’s important to give yourself a realistic time frame for accomplishing the smaller goals that are necessary to achieving your final objective.
SMART provides the clarity, focus, and motivation you need to achieve your goals. It can improve your ability to reach them by encouraging you to define your objectives and set an end date. SMART goals are easy to use, without the need for specialist tools and can be used for personal or professional development.