The SMART Goal Method
The SMART goal method is a framework for setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This method is commonly used in business, education, and personal development to help individuals and teams set clear objectives and track progress towards achieving them. In this blog I explain how you can use it for your own goals.
Specific: A specific goal is clear and unambiguous, and describes exactly what needs to be accomplished. This means that you need to be as specific as possible when setting your goal. A specific goal should answer the following questions:
What do I want to achieve?
Who is involved?
Why is this important?
Where will it take place?
How will I achieve it?
For example, setting a general goal like "I want to be healthier,” is all well and good, but it’s too generalised. This kind of goal could lead to overwhelm and thus not achieving the goal. If you are more specific and said something like "I want to lose 10 pounds by exercising for 30 minutes every day and eating a balanced diet.” That gives you a specific target to work on. Of course if you “want to be healthier” you can have multiple goals to achieve this - but only one at a time!
Measurable: A measurable goal has a specific outcome that can be measured. This means that you should be able to track your progress and determine whether or not you've achieved your goal. A measurable goal should answer the following questions:
How will I know when I've achieved it?
For example, if your goal is to improve your sales, a measurable goal would be "I want to increase my sales by 20% by the end of the quarter.” Or using our previous example losing 10 pounds is a measurable goal.
Achievable: An achievable goal is challenging but still realistic. This means that you need to set a goal that is achievable given the time frame and resources available. There’s a fine line between making a goal too easy and making a goal too difficult. An achievable goal should answer the following questions:
Is it within my control to achieve this goal?
Do I have the resources and support to achieve this goal?
Is it realistic given my current circumstances?
For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, you need to ensure that you have enough time to train, the necessary equipment, and the physical ability to complete the race. To use our first example exercising for 30 minutes everyday is a very achievable goal, though some modification to your daily routine may be necessary to implement it.
Relevant: A relevant goal is aligned with your values and vision, and helps you to move closer to your long-term aspirations. This means that your goal should be relevant to your overall objectives and should support your vision for the future. Your values are essentially your core beliefs. If a goal isn’t aligned with your core beliefs the feeling you get after completing the goal may not be as good as you were hoping. I wrote about this in my blog “You Are Not An Apple”. A relevant goal should answer the following questions:
Is this goal aligned with my values and vision?
Does it support my long-term aspirations?
Will achieving this goal bring me closer to my desired future?
For example, if your long-term goal is to start your own business, a relevant goal might be to gain experience in a specific area that will be useful when starting your business. Again, using our first example of losing weight a relevant goal could be to find different walks you can do around the area you live or work. Or maybe you’ll look up some exercise classes you can join.
Time-bound: A time-bound goal has a specific deadline or time frame in which it needs to be achieved. This means that you need to set a specific timeframe for achieving your goal. If you don’t set a deadline then the motivation won’t be as strong to put the in the work required to achieve your goal. A time-bound goal should answer the following questions:
When will I achieve this goal?
What is the deadline?
What are the milestones along the way?
For example, if your goal is to learn a new language, a time-bound goal would be "I want to become fluent in Spanish within 12 months by taking classes twice a week and practicing for 30 minutes every day.” Using our first example of losing weight the only thing we’ve not got there is a time-frame for when we want to lose our 10lbs. To make that goal time-bound you could add a realistic “within” - for example “My goal is to lose 10lbs within the next three months. I will do this by exercising for 30 minutes every day.”
By using the SMART goal method, you can create goals that are well-defined, achievable, and aligned with your long-term objectives. This can help you to stay focused, motivated, and on track to achieve your desired outcomes.