Everyone's vision of success is different. It could mean getting a job, completing a daunting task, or going back to school. Goals should be different each year, as you accomplish more in your life. Whatever you are aiming to do, setting SMART goals will help you get there. This means having reasonable and measurable long-term and short-term objectives.
What does SMART goals mean? SMART is an acronym that explains goal setting:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time framed.
Goals should be specific. We often set goals that are not precise, which makes it hard to judge if we have hit them or not. If you say 'I will lose weight', how do you continue to measure that goal? If you say, 'I will lose five pounds in the next two months', you will have a specific goal. At the end of the two months, you will know if you have healthily reached your goal or not.
Goals have to be measurable, so you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress can help you stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal. For example, 'Making new contacts' is an ambiguous statement, but a clearer objective is 'I will attend four networking events this month'.
It's important that your goals be achievable. Often times, we feel the need to accomplish more than we are actually capable of and set goals that are too ambitious. Doing this ensures failure before you even get started. By setting goals that are achievable, we can gain momentum from accomplishing them. This momentum will push us even further to achieving greater goals in the future.
Goals need to be realistic. It is important that you honestly evaluate yourself. Do you have the ability and commitment to make your dreams come true, or do you need some adjustments? For example, you may want to go back to school, but are you willing to spend your weekends for the next 4 years studying? Be honest with yourself.
Having a time frame or deadline for your goals will give them structure. Some people spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do, someday. But, without a timeline in place there is no sense of urgency or reason to take action today. Having a specific time frame can help you get started and monitor progress as you go.
Setting goals involves figuring out what you need to do to reach them. It is more than just deciding what you want to do, but taking measurable action to execute the activities that are needed for you to reach your dream. With some determination and support, you can accompish anything you set your mind to! Next time you are setting a goal for yourself - make sure its a SMART one!