How do you set goals? This is a great question in the work place and for personal goals. Projects need organization. Individuals can certainly use milestones. Goals should be S.M.A.R.T. What are S.M.A.R.T. goals?
The acronym S.M.A.R.T. has a number of slightly different variations, which can be used to provide a more comprehensive definition for goal setting:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
Setting goals that are S.M.A.R.T. will help you to be successful in both your business and personal life.Consider when setting up your weekly to-do list, setting your monthly budget, or when evaluating your personal financial goals whether your goals are S.M.A.R.T. Let’s dive into the acronym for a bit.
Specific: The goal should be described as specifically as possible. While a goal of simply “loosing weight” isn’t specific a goal of losing 15 pounds from a current weight of 180 pounds in 4 months is specific. Saving $2000 in an emergency fund in 2 months is a specific goal. Creating and publishing 4 blog posts a week every week consistently for the next 6 months is specific.
Measurable: The goal must be measurable in order to be effective. The weight loss, $2000 emergency fund, and example is measurable. Being a better parent, better spouse, or better employee is a little harder to pin down. If the goal is to be a better parent identify areas of parenting that are measurable. Consider turning off or putting your cell phone or computer away when you get home until after your kids go to bed. Or make an effort to get everyone to sit at the table for meals and talk together.
Achievable: Goal setting can be tricky particularly given the level of difficulty of the goal. A goal that is too easy will not be very full-filling or motivating. A goal that is extremely difficult could in fact have the opposite effect of deflating a person to the point they don’t want to continue. There needs to be a balance between a goal being challenging yet doable. A good frame of reference is to consider if a person sees themselves meeting that goal. If not perhaps the goal needs to be retrofitted and revisited. Is saving $2000 in 2 months isn’t achievable review your goal to make it achievable. Is creating and publishing 4 blogs posts a week not achievable? Perhaps 2 blog posts a week would be better. With two young kids and a full-time job I realized that publishing 2 blog posts a week was more achievable.
Realistic: Do you possess the needed expertise, skills, knowledge, and time needed to reach your goal? If your goal is weight loss do you know about calorie intake, types of food, exercise routines needed to achieve your goal? If not perhaps some studying is in order. Consider the local library for free resources. If your goal is personal finance is it really a realistic idea to reduce your grocery budget from $600 a month to $200 for a family of 4? Again regarding blogging I found that due to other priorities in my life publishing 2 blog posts a week is more relativistic.
Timely: This kind of spills over from the specific aspect of SMART goal setting. Having a deadline gives people the necessary positive tension needed to get a move on with your goal or goals. The goal should be realistic. Losing 15 pounds in two weeks isn’t realistic and probably is unhealthy. Losing 15 pounds in 4 months is realistic and probably a healthier way to go if you want to keep the weight off. Saving money for two months is time-bound. Posting consistently for 6 months will create a good rhythm for you as a blogger and will help readers to expect regular posted content.
S.M.A.R.T. is a left-brain tool being logical, linear, and easy to analyze. It is therefore not for everyone. For more left-brain and creative functions I’ll post something on S.A.F.E. goals at a later date.
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Are your goals typically S.M.A.R.T.? What are 3 S.M.A.R.T. goals you can set for next week? What are 3 S.M.A.R.T. goals you can set for October?