Setting goals and following through with a plan doesn’t come easy to everyone. Whether you have a small goal to eat healthier or a more significant goal to grow your side hustle, defining that goal and mapping out a way to get there is the best way to accomplish it!
For many, failing to achieve goals might be more common than successfully making a plan and hitting the target. That’s why we love the idea of smart goals! It’s a tried-and-true method to turn dreams into reality.
We’re not talking about intelligence. “SMART” goals follow each letter of the word “smart” to document your goal, then plan your path toward success.
How does it work? Keep reading to learn how using the letters “s, m, a, r, and t” can help you achieve your goals every time!
What Does SMART Mean?
In 1981, George T. Doran documented an effective way to develop (and execute) goals. Using the word “smart” as an acronym, the system walks through defining a goal, then making a simple yet specific plan to achieve the goal.
While the specific words associated with “SMART” can change, the concept remains the same as originated by George T. Doran. A widely-accepted and commonly used acronym for today is:
Let’s look at how you can apply this concept to your next goal and help motivate you to succeed!
“S” = Specific
When thinking of your next goal, it’s time to get specific about it. A broad idea is challenging to achieve. However, creating a definition around what you want to accomplish helps you see a finish line as you work through a “smart” plan for your goal.
For example, if you want to make more money this year, that’s an excellent idea! However, if you’re unsure of what “more” is, you’ll soon be discouraged and off-track toward your goal.
Get specific! How much money is “more” you need to meet your goal?
- General: I want to make more money this year.
- Specific: I want to make $10,000 more than I did last year.
If you aren’t sure how to get specific about your goal, start by asking yourself these basic questions: who, what, when, where, and why.
With a firm goal in mind, you’re ready to move on to the next step!
“M” = Measurable
How will you track progress toward your goal? It’s good to know that you want to earn a specific amount of money this year, but to meet that goal, you need to make progress toward it every day.
We’ll get to the “how” in a minute. First, you need to think about the metrics that will keep you on track toward that extra $10k this year.
“Measurable” can also mean “milestones.” Chances are, you won’t make that $10,000 extra in one day or a week. If your goal is to earn that much more than last year, give yourself target dates (or milestones) to hit along the way.
- In one month, I want to have an extra $1,000 in my bank account.
- In three months, I want to earn $3,000 more than I did in the same period last year.
With road markers along the way toward your “big” goal, you’ll be able to track your progress. If you miss one milestone, that’s okay! You have another milestone just ahead to make up the difference.
Be sure to celebrate each milestone as you pass it! Staying “smart” and working toward your overall goal is more rewarding when you see your progress along the way.
“A” = Achievable
Is $10,000 more this year a reasonable goal? As you work through the SMART goals acronym, the “A” allows you to check the reality of your goal. It’s also the time to plan “how” you’ll get it done. To earn an additional $1,000 by next month, I will:
- Ask for more hours at my job
- Ask my boss for a well-deserved raise
- Start that side hustle I’ve put off for too long
While we hope you’ll always dream big, failing to achieve your goals can be discouraging if you set a goal that’s beyond your reach right now. Maybe someday you’ll make $100,000 more than you did the year before. For now, $10,000 might be a reasonable and achievable goal to be proud of!
“R” = Relevant
Does your goal make sense for you? This is an essential step in the SMART goal process, but don’t let this question discourage you. When your goal is relevant to your life, business, or other significant goals, you’re more likely to stay motivated, keep working toward milestones, and ultimately succeed!
Maybe that extra $10,000 this year will help you pay off some debt or purchase something you’ve had your eye on. When you assign meaning to your goal, you improve your commitment toward making it happen. If your goal doesn’t impact your life in a meaningful way, it’s easy to give up when you miss a milestone or change your mind about it.
“T” = Timely
You’ve defined milestones along your journey to success, but what is the ultimate timeframe to achieve your goal? Put a date to it, and make sure you stick to it.
If you want to earn that additional $10,000 “this year,” mark your “goal date” as of December 31 and do everything you can to make sure you don’t miss it. A timely goal with a firm end date helps you stay motivated. Without a timestamp for your goal, you might never know if you’ve achieved it.
Incorporating smart goals into your plans and dreams is one of the best ways to get more out of life!
Use Smart Goals For Success
Using smart goals is an excellent way to improve your success rate when pursuing more or making changes. Whether you have a weight loss goal or need to complete a big project, use the “SMART” acronym to plan your strategy, and achieve success.
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