How to Set SMART Goals

Goals can be hard to stick to so why not try a new way of making them? That’s where the SMART method comes in. With SMART you can plan out achievable, realistic goals that will help you to overcome the struggle of getting to your goals.

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These are criteria that you can use to help yourself set reasonable goals that you’ll have a better chance of achieving, and can be applied to many areas of your life. 

In this guide we’ll talk about how you can use SMART goals to help you achieve your best and progress in your life and career!

SMART Goals Infographic

1. Specific

Having a specific goal will help you to focus your efforts when you’re trying to reach it by knowing exactly what you’re actually setting out to achieve.

Try and set out your specific goal using the 5 W’s – Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Here’s how:

  • Who Who’s going to be involved in achieving this goal? Is it something you can do alone or do you need others’ help to do it?
  • What What are you trying to achieve? What do you want to have gained by the time you accomplish your goal?
  • When When do you want to start working towards your goal? When do you hope to have achieved it? We’ll explore this further when we talk about the importance of a time-bound goal.
  • Where — Where do you need to go to achieve your goal? Is it something work-based, in the home, or elsewhere?
  • Why — Why are you looking to achieve this goal? Identifying your motivations can help to keep you motivated.

Asking yourself these questions and really thinking about the answers is going to help you stick with  and accomplish your goal, as well as giving you a better idea of what you want and how exactly you can achieve it. 

2. Measurable

Having a measurable goal means that you’ll have some way of knowing how it’ll be accomplished. Can you assign a particular number to your goal, such as wanting a specific number of items sold? What benchmarks can you set that will help you monitor the progress of your goal?

Being able to consistently measure your progress and visualise your progression can help keep you motivated as you work towards your goal and help you to know exactly when you’ve achieved your goal. Try using the dates that you’ll be setting for your goal as a measure of when you’ve completed it.

3. Achievable

Ensuring that your goal is realistic and achievable is extremely important, as you could be setting yourself up for failure otherwise.

Knowing that you can actually achieve something involves planning out what you’re going to be doing and where you’ll end up, so you’ll be able to figure out if your goal is achievable while you’re making it more specific and going through the 5 W’s. 

If you find your goal is unrealistic then ask yourself what you can change or re-evaluate it to make it more achievable for yourself–always keep in mind what is realistically possible. 

4. Relevant

You need to make sure that the goal you’re working towards is relevant to you and that you’ll stay motivated to complete it. This might include looking at the ‘why’ you answered when making your goal specific.

Is what you’re trying to achieve important and worthwhile to you? If not then how could you change it to make it more relevant? Do you think you’re the right person to achieve this goal? Try and make sure you have everything you’ll need to get started and achieve your goals before you start.

5. Time-bound

Setting a target date and deadline is important when it comes to goal setting. Knowing you have a specific deadline you’re working towards can help with your motivation as well as your time management. 

You’ll be better able to plan out when you’ll do what you need to do for your goal so it’s best to start thinking about your deadline early and get planning. Think about what you’ll be doing to work towards your goal in a few days, a week, a month, or 6 months from now depending how long term your goal is.

By using the SMART framework you can set better goals for yourself that you’ll be able to more easily achieve. This method can work for many goals, large or small so try it out and see if it helps you to reach your next milestone.

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