The Secrets of SMART Goal Setting – Examples
The key to success is to set achievable goals for yourself, as without proper goals you would be directionless. Apart from allowing you to gain control of your life, setting a goal enables you to set a benchmark for yourself so that you can assess and measure your performance appraisal However, the key to accomplishing goals is to set them first. It is not Aladdin’s genie to whom you can say: “I want this to happen” and then sit back and expect it to happen. The process of smart goal setting begins with a proper analysis of the goals that you wish to achieve and of course it entails a lot of hard work to accomplish it. Let us take a look at the five golden rules of goal setting so that you can set your goals right!
1. Set Goals that Truly Motivate You into Action
When you decide to set goals for yourself, one of the important things to make a note of is that your goals should motivate you. This means that you need to ensure that these goals are quite important to you and they have a value attached to them which makes them worthwhile. If at the onset itself, you seem to be least interested in the final outcome, or there is lack of relevance when compared to the larger picture, then it is equally obvious that your efforts are likely to be weak with slim chances of achieving your goals. In other words, you need to set goals that motivate you.
Try to always set goals that you can relate to your priorities in your life. If you lack this kind of focus, there are chances that you may end up with far too many goals, which leaves you with too little time to dedicate to each one of them. Achieving your goals warrants commitment. In order to increase the chances of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and possess the zeal to hit the bull’s eye. If you do not have this attitude, you risk putting off what you need to do in order to convert your goal into reality. This will leave you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, thereby de-motivating you.
2. SMART Goal and Objective Setting
You must be already aware of the concept of setting SMART goals. But the question is: Are you applying it when it comes to your life? In order for goals to be powerful, they need to be designed in such a manner that they are a SMART goal. There are many versions of what SMART stands for, but in the true sense of the term, it stands for:
- Time Bound
- Set Specific Goals
Always ensure that your goal is specific and well defined. If goals are vague or generalized they are not really helpful, because they lack sufficient direction. You need to remember that you need to set goals which will show you the way. Hence, you should try to make it as easy as you can so that you can define precisely your point of achievement.
Lets take the goal of being a Thought Leader in High Performance Teams
Bad Smart Goal Example: I want to be an expert
Good Smart Goal Example: I want to be Thought Leader in High Performance Teams
- Set Measurable Goals
Ensure that you are able to measure the goals which you have set. One way by which you can achieve this is to include precise amounts, dates, etc. while setting your goals so that you are able to measure your degree of success at regular intervals. For instance, if you frame your goal as “To reduce expenses” how will you ascertain to what extent you have been successful? If on the other hand you set a benchmark for measuring by what margin you have been able to reduce your expenses, it will give you a holistic picture of where you are with your goals. If you do not find a way to measure your success, you are likely to miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing that you have actually achieved something.
Bad Smart Goal Example: I want to my increase my Thought Leadership Seminars
Good Smart Goal Example: I want to increase next quarters Thought Leadership seminars by 15%
- Set Achievable Goals
Avoid setting unrealistic goals. Always ensure that it is possible to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will end up feeling demoralized and your confidence is likely to be eroded.
However, this does not mean that you set goals that are way too easy to achieve. If you accomplish a goal for which you didn’t have to work hard, it may not be in your best favour, as it may make you fearful of setting future goals that carry higher level of risk. If you set realistic yet challenging goals, you strike the balance that is required. These are the types of goals that urge you to “raise the bar” and they bring out the best in you and also entail the greatest level of personal satisfaction.
Bad Smart Goal Example: I want to be the Worlds Best Thought Leader
Good Smart Goal Example: I will draw on my 15 years experience to write 5 posts per week for the next six months on ‘High Performance Teams‘
- Set Relevant Goals
Your goals should be relevant to the direction that you want your life and career to take. If you manage to keep your goals aligned with this, you will develop the focus that you need to surge ahead and achieve what you wish to. If you set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, you will end up wasting your time, effort, and life.
Bad Smart Goal Example: I will write a book
Good Smart Goal Example: I will write a book on The Role of Trust in High Performance Teams
- Set Time Specific Goals
It is a must for your goals to have a deadline. Having a timeline enables you to feel jubilant when you are able to meet the deadline. It gives you a sense of achievement. When you are working against a deadline, your sense of urgency is at an all time high and you are able to achieve your goals faster as well.
Bad Smart Goal Example: I will write a book on The Role of Trust in High Performance Teams
Good Smart Goal Example: I will write a book on The Role of Trust in High Performance Teams by Q3 2018
3. Set Goals in Writing
It is always advisable that you write down your goals. Writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. It acts as a reminder and you do not have an excuse for forgetting about it. When you write down your goals, use the word the future tense instead of future perfect tense. For instance use “will” instead of “would like to”. Write your goals on sticky notes and put them up in visible sections of your home or work space to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Stick them on your walls, desktop, bathroom mirror, desk, or refrigerator as a constant reminder of what you need to achieve.
4. Make an Action Plan
People often tend to miss this step in the goal setting process. People get so focused and fixated on the outcome that they disregard to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way in order to achieve the goals. If you jot down the individual steps, and then strike off each one as you accomplish it, it gives you a sense of realization that you are making headway towards your final goal. This is especially important if your goal is huge, long term and a challenging one.
5. Stick with It
You must remember that goal setting is an ongoing activity. Set reminders to keep yourself on track, and maintain regular time-slots so that you can review your goals. While your end target may remain the same, but your action plan along the way may change significantly. Hence, you need to make sure that the value, relevance, and necessity remain at an all time high.