Whether you are an avid goal setter or someone who has always needed encouragement to achieve your goals, you have probably heard about setting a smart goal.
Well, to be more specific, a S.M.A.R.T. goal. But what does that S.M.A.R.T. goal help you to do? Have you made specific goals around your life and career? Do you find that they aren’t going as you planned? Fear not. Setting an S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal and reviewing it frequently could be the game-changer you need.
Let’s start at square one of your education to career path journey.
You’ve chosen to go to school. You’ve done the research on where to go, what to do, and how to make it happen. Whether you are entering the workforce fresh, upgrading education, or making a career change, you probably have a career goal in mind.
How do you make it to this career goal? What do you need to do before you can reach the next step? How often do you need to check-in on the progress? How will you know when you have made it in this new career path?
As you compile this research and figure out all of the post-secondary school-related details, you will need to start working out how you are going to ensure you get a job in your career field and how it can be exactly what you were dreaming of when you started this journey. You might even ask yourself how you are going to keep track of all those details and tasks while you are in school so that you will be prepared to enter the workforce as soon as you graduate.
This planning is what smart goal setting is all about! Setting a smart goal has become a tested and proven acronym to help you remember what steps you need to take in order to achieve your goals. In recent years, some have even taken S.M.A.R.T. goals to an even higher level with S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals.
How to set a smart goal and achieve it
To ensure that you are making S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals and actively working on achieving them as best you can, make sure you implement a goal-setting system.
How to make S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals and achieve them:
1. Evaluate your situation
Reviewing your past and the present situation is the key to setting goals tailored for yourself.
What has worked before? What didn’t as well?
Based on these, what do you want to improve on and achieve?
2. Make it SMARTER
To achieve your goals best, they need to be:
Is the goal clearly written, with no ambivalence? Is it clear who needs to accomplish the goal and any support they might expect?
Does the goal answer the questions of how many, how much, and/or how often?
Can you get the support needed to achieve the goal by the target date? Do you have all the resources needed to achieve the goal? Are the results expected realistic?
Does the goal make a difference in your career? Is it going to make an improvement in your personal life? Is it going to significantly make a difference to your business?
Does the goal state a clear and specific completion date?
Can you gauge whether you are making progress? What worked so far? What can you do better or more effectively?
If you feel like you aren’t making enough progress on your initial goal, are you able to adapt and keep pushing forward with a revised goal plan?
3. Write it down
Write down your goals to clarify and strengthen your intentions.
4. Break it down
Break down your goals into small and manageable steps to overcome the overwhelming feelings related to daunting tasks.
5. Hold yourself accountable
Hold yourself accountable for maintaining focus and discipline throughout your process.
6. Reward yourself
Rewarding yourself with help reinforces the positive actions you’ve taken so you can continue doing it.
7. Develop systems and habits
Effective systems and habits make it easier for you to accomplish your goals on a regular basis.
If you continuously keep personal and professional goals that you continually work towards, you will see the positive impacts on your life and career.
Setting a smart goal isn’t about making a checklist that you can easily cross off. It is about organizing how to get where you want to be. Whether the goal is physical, financial, education, family, artistic, attitude, pleasure, public service, or career-related, focus on the steps and work that it takes to get there. You will work through the steps in order to reach your smart goal, but each one doesn’t have to be done perfectly. Maybe add: Take one step at a time and celebrate each success/ accomplishment whether big or small.
Don’t get discouraged. If you don’t achieve one part of your goal easily, reassess what happened and revise it in your smart goal setting worksheet. Keep at it and remember: “Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier