The new year is starting and it's the perfect time to craft goals that can supercharge your life. In this article, we'll discuss what S.M.A.R.T. goals are and how you can use them on your journey towards your personal and professional growth.
What are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?
S.M.A.R.T. goals are a dynamic framework designed to transform your aspirations into tangible achievements. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These five elements form the pillars of effective goal setting, and help you to build your ambitions into actionable plans.
The first step is clearly defining what you want to achieve.
Vague goal: "I want to improve my fitness level."
Specific goal: "I want to complete a half-marathon in 6 months."
The first statement doesn't have a specific focus or end result- how would you know when you've effectively improved your fitness level? The second goal provides clarity- you will know you have reached your goal when you are able to complete the half-marathon in 6 months.
When making goals, it is important to track your progress and equally important to celebrate milestones, which will keep you motivated. Having some sort of metric, whether it's numeric or a tangible outcome, will help you stay on course.
Vague goal: "I want to read more books."
Measurable goal: "I will read one book a month."
It is tempting to set lofty goals- after all, you may want to see drastic changes in your life. While this sort of ambition is important, it is also important to set realistic goals. If your goals are too lofty, you may become frustrated when you cannot reach them or if it takes too long to reach them. Look at the amount of time you have, your current skillset, and your resources and come up with a goal that is realistic for your circumstances.
Example (this person currently reads 0 books and is pretty busy in their day to day life):
Unrealistic goal: "I am going to read 100 books a month."
Realistic goal: "I am going to read 1 book a month."
Create goals that are relevant to your life- are the goals you're setting going to help you reach your bigger picture goals. Your goals should be meaningful to your personal and professional journey.
Example (this person's ultimate goal is to become a full-time business blogger):
Irrelevant goal: "I am going to crochet three scarves a month."
Relevant goal: "I am going to take one blogging course each quarter."
Set a time-frame for each of your goals. Providing a deadline gives you more structure and can help with motivation and commitment.
Goal with no time structure: "I am going to write a book."
Goal with time structure: "I am going to write the first draft of my book in 4 months."
Using S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting is a powerful way to work towards your personal and professional dreams. Creating your goals in this way provides clarity, metrics, and structure. Your journey to success starts with a smart plan and S.M.A.R.T. goals can help.
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