Ever feel like you are working hard but not seeing the result of your efforts? You may feel that your past accomplishments are not as many as you would hope, or you’re struggling to envision how you will fulfill your dreams. Make a strong start to the year by trying SMART goals. SMART goals focus your desires with achievable actions in order to set you on track for your career, business, or personal life. In a study, 76 percent of participants who wrote down their goals and actions, plus provided weekly progress to a friend successfully achieved their goals. They were 33 percent higher than those participants with unwritten goals.
What are SMART Goals?
A SMART goal refers to any goal, short or long-term, that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The purpose of the SMART acronym is to help individuals set goals that are both clear and reachable. No matter how lofty or trivial your objective is, the SMART approach to goal-setting will build an action plan for your success.
How to set SMART Goals?
Fortunately, setting a SMART goal is a process that is neither difficult nor time-consuming. Simply consider the guidelines below and you’ll have a set of SMART goals for the upcoming year.
1. Are your goals SPECIFIC?
A good goal needs to be specific and clear so that you’ll know exactly when you’ve accomplished the objective. For example, “running a successful business” is a common goal that many people have, yet it is too general because there are many ways to define success. One individual might believe a business is successful if it produces a lot of revenue, while another person may believe a high rating from the Better Business Bureau means having a successful business.
2. Are your goals MEASURABLE?
Not only should your goals be specific, but they should also be measurable. Otherwise, you’ll have a difficult time tracking your progress and determining when you’ve accomplished your goal. In most cases, adding value will make a goal more measurable. For example, instead of saying that you want your business to produce a lot of revenue, you could make a business goal to generate $1 million of revenue. Then, take steps to be able to track the amount of revenue made per month in order to consistently measure your goal’s success.
Before you choose a number to make your goal measurable, you should figure out what is possible. Goals that are too easy or too hard typically have a negative impact on motivation.
3. Are your goals ATTAINABLE?
Many people make the mistake of setting goals that are not realistic. Knowing the difference between an attainable goal and a dream may be difficult at first. However, think about what you know you can do to achieve that goal. If you know what to do and are able to make it happen, then it is attainable.
For instance, an unattainable goal would be trying to bake brownies from memory. You might think that anyone can bake a brownie because we have all had one before. However, unless you are trained or highly experienced, you will quickly find out how little you know about baking. The attainable version of that goal might be to memorize the recipe or spend more time with your grandma who wrote the family recipe.
4. Are your goals RELEVANT?
Make sure that you’re setting goals that are important and address your needs. Don’t make the mistake of setting a goal due to outside pressures. If you’re happy with $10,000 in revenue from your small business, you shouldn’t feel as if you need to earn more money next year. You will struggle to maintain the motivation to meet your goals if they aren’t relevant. Instead, you can look into other areas of your business that need to be improved.
5. Are your goals TIME-BOUND?
Finally, your goals should be time-bound. For example, you may want your business to generate $25,000 of revenue within six months and $50,000 of revenue by the end of the year. Knowing you have a time-based deadline will motivate you to get started. Without a concrete endpoint, you’ll continue putting off working toward your goal.
SMART goals are an effective way to get your personal and professional life on track this upcoming year. The International Association of Women can help you accomplish your career goals. Join the largest network of professional women for support, motivation, and inspiration!