Why is Having a SMART Goal so Important?
A SMART goal is a well-known tool to help guide goal setting.
SMART goals are essential as it helps to define a clear and precise goal that is obtainable.
While also creating an action plan with steps to help achieve the goal within a specific timeframe. Therefore, allowing you to define the goals needed to succeed and keep the focus to achieve them.
SMART goals are usually a strategy in business. However, it is just as beneficial for personal pursuits.
Smart goals are vital as it allows us to create a better life.
Being able to visualize the life you want and set goals, and understand the steps needed to succeed is essential.
Doing this will increase your chances of reaching your goals within a specific time.
What is a SMART Goal?
A direct quote from our Government Employee Resources about Smart Goals. “Goals provide focus as well as a measuring tool for progress. They enhance productivity, bolster self-esteem and increase commitment, so you are more likely to achieve whatever you set out to conquer.”
I had to share this since I couldn’t have described it better!
SMART goals stand for:
T (Time Frame)
The S in SMART stands for Specific.
When setting a goal, it is crucial to be specific about what your goal is.
The plan ought to be detailed to understand the outcome you want.
Example of a Specific Goal. Terri wants to lose 30 pounds of weight.
Example of a Vague Goal. Terri wants to lose weight.
Goals that are too vague lack clarity of what you want to achieve.
Without transparency, the goal doesn’t allow for accountability.
Vague goals can fall to the sideline and not get accomplished. Therefore, making it is essential to set specific goals.
Setting a goal can be anything, literally.
Personal goals can gear towards getting promoted within a company, home remodeling, weight loss, and/or financial goals.
Questions to Consider When Creating a Specific Goal:
- What is the purpose of achieving this goal?
- Why is this goal important to me?
- Is this goal too vague or defined?
- Does this goal have a clear outcome?
The M in SMART stands for Measurable. Having a measurable goal helps you hold yourself accountable.
Now that you have defined your specific goal making sure the plan is measurable is vital.
The plan can be measured with numbers such as losing weight by a certain number of pounds or financially by adding a dollar amount.
The goal may get measured through course load (if in college) of the number of classes to complete to obtain the degree.
Example of a Measurable Goal. Terri is going to lose 30 pounds.
Unlike school and the work environment, we only have ourselves to hold responsible for achieving our personal goals.
If we do not hold ourselves accountable, then who will?
Questions to Consider:
- Can I break my goal down into bite-size pieces?
- Can I gauge this goal through a measurable unit? How much or how many?
- How will I know when the goal is achieved?
The A in SMART stands for Attainable. Having a measurable goal helps you hold yourself accountable. Smart goals need to be attainable.
This is a critical step in the SMART goal-making process.
If the goal is unattainable, it will crush your motivation and spirits when you realize you will not be able to complete within a reasonable timeframe.
Attainable goals are practical and achievable.
It allows you to push yourself but not to the breaking point.
A goal that, with enough time carved out of your schedule, you can accomplish it. Furthermore, an attainable goal is knowing you have the skill and ability to complete it.
Example of Attainable Goal. Terri will work out three times a week for an hour a day.
Example of Unattainable Goal. Terry is going to work out every day for 4 hours knowing that will be difficult to fit into his busy schedule.
Having achievable goals is essential to help you stay motivated throughout the process.
If you have a dream that is entirely out of reach and within a short timeframe, it may cause you to lose motivation quickly.
However, if the goal is attainable and milestones are achievable within a reasonable timeframe, it makes the process enjoyable while pushing yourself further.
Therefore, making it is essential to have an achievable goal.
Questions to Consider:
- Do I have time to accomplish this goal?
- Do I have the tools needed to accomplish this goal?
- Do I have the skill set to accomplish this goal?
- Is the goal too hard to accomplish?
Relevant or Realistic
The R in SMART stands for Relevant or Realistic.
Having a measurable goal helps you hold yourself accountable. The goal needs to be relevant and realistic to your life.
Is it something you dream of or want to happen in your life? Or is someone else pushing you toward this goal?
Achieving a specific goal requires work and dedication. The outcome needs to be goal-oriented, not just doing something to stay busy.
Therefore, determine if the goal is part of your life goals or if you feel pressure from others to complete it.
Also, make sure it is something you are passionate about to see the project through until the end.
Example of Relevant. Terri wants to lose 30 pounds since having a baby to fit in her old clothes.
Having a goal that is relevant to you is crucial as it is easier to achieve than one from parents, friends, or social pressure.
If the goal aligns with what you want in life, then the passion for achieving the goal will make it easier to succeed than being forced to accomplish it.
Another thing to think about is if the goal is realistic.
Having an unrealistic goal will likely demotivate you. Setting goals too far out of reach or goals that are unattainable will make the goal unachievable.
An example of setting goals too far out of reach is starting an online business and expecting to have thousands of visitors within the first week.
Possibly it is increasing sales revenue 1000% higher than last month.
These are all very unlikely, though not impossible, situations that will cause demotivation in achieving the goal.
Another aspect of unattainable goals is those requiring action items outside your control.
This may be trying to complete ten college courses in a semester when the school only allows you to take a maximum of 5 courses.
Therefore, you cannot achieve the goal due to limitations outside your control.
Questions to Consider:
- Does the goal make sense with what I want out of life?
- Do I have complete control over achieving this goal?
- Will outside sources prevent me from accomplishing this goal?
- Will this goal help me advance in the direction I am heading in life?
The T in SMART stands for Time Frame. Having a measurable goal helps you hold yourself accountable.
There are several different ways to measure a goal and determine it.
Using time as a metric is preferred to hold yourself accountable. It allows the ability to achieve the goal promptly.
If working towards a college degree, measuring course load may work as you are slowly gaining progress towards your goal.
However, it may take longer to achieve the degree if not measured by time.
Time allows us the ability to push ourselves harder to achieve our goals.
Time is also vital as it helps us track progress throughout the journey of accomplishing a goal.
Example. Terry will start her goal tomorrow and finish in exactly 20 weeks. She is aiming to lose 1.5 pounds a week to hit her goal.
If losing weight is the goal (as stated above), without a timeline, what is the motivation for going to the gym today and not putting it off until tomorrow?
Sometimes, the gym gets eternally pushed off until tomorrow, never progressing toward the goal.
Having a timeframe allows the ability to look back at the results already achieved, which hopefully will help maintain motivation.
Questions to Consider:
- Can I break my goal into a timeline?
- Can I set a date on when the goal should get completed?
- Do I have a deadline for my goal?
When to Set a SMART Goal?
You can set a SMART goal at any time!
A SMART goal is great for any purpose you want to set in your life, from learning a new language and reading more books to creating a plan of having six months’ worth of expenses saved.
A goal is anything passionate to you of what you want to achieve in life.
In conclusion, having a SMART goal is crucial for personal and business pursuits.
It helps define a clear and precise achievable purpose and creates an action plan with steps to help achieve the goal within a specific timeframe.
SMART goals define the objectives needed to succeed and keep the focus to achieve them.
Having a SMART goal helps create a better life by visualizing the life you want, setting goals, and understanding the steps needed to succeed. [Read also: Mindset Changes for a More Successful Life]
Therefore, it is essential to set SMART goals using specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound criteria to achieve your goals.
Sara is a writer for Amora V Lifestyle and is Co-Owner of Elizabeth Besich. Sara previously worked as a Marketing Manager and has her Master’s from Lindenwood University.
Sara studies everything of interest, from psychology, recipes, finances, mental health, and travel, thriving to find happiness and to live a good life.
When not learning, Sara loves all things outdoors, food, and hanging around great company. Furthermore, Sara loves spending time with family, who she is blessed to have in her life.
Note from the author: Through my articles, I hope to bring you joy and peace and that you enjoy it!