The way to accomplish anything is to set a goal. That sounds easy enough, but it seems to be a difficult task for many people. The problem is that they don’t really “set” the goal, they just claim it. Goal setting can be easily accomplished if the goal is SMART. The acronym SMART identifies the five steps to successful goal setting.
S stands for “Specific”. Determine exactly what it is you want to accomplish. Don’t be vague. If you identify clear goals, you will know once they have been reached. If the goal is hazy, you will be hard pressed to finish what you started. Define your goal. Know exactly what you want to accomplish. You might set a goal to open a new women’s clothing store in your hometown. That is much more specific than opening a store.
M is “Measurable”. In order to reach your goal, you must be able to mark the progress toward it. Identify the intermediate steps that will lead to your end goal. As each step is achieved, progress toward the main goal will be obvious. You should be able to track your progress towards your goal as easily as you would track a vacation trip across the country. The small goals that you achieve along the way are the milestones that will result in arrival at the destination.
A means “Achievable”. If you are capable of doing it, you will be able to accomplish it. If you pick a goal that is overly ambitious in either the product or the time frame, you will become discouraged and not reach the goal. This is a bit of practical advice. Don’t set a goal to become a doctor with your own practice in three years if you haven’t had any medical training or get sick at the thought of dealing with patients. Pick a goal that you are going to be able to meet with a bit of a stretch.
R stands for “Realistic”. A goal that has accurate time frames and steps will be realized. If you are not at all interested in politics, do not set the goal to become President. The required steps will defeat you since you have no inherent interest. If you are looking for a leadership position, perhaps running for the local school board is more realistic.
T is “Time Activated”. Setting a time frame puts a measure of urgency on your goal. It is similar to working under a deadline. The time frame holds you accountable to yourself for the end goal. Setting a goal of graduating from college only holds so much weight. It takes on new meaning when the parameters are set at graduation from college in four years.
Five simple steps guide you on your path setting SMART goals. Make certain your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Activated. Smart goal setting will lead to accomplished goals and a sense of well-being on your part.
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Realistic
T = Time Activated
Remember when setting goals to set them SMART!