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Getting S.M.A.R.T About Goal Setting

Popularized by George T. Doran in his 1981 article in the November issue Management Review, SMART criteria are used in all industries to set project goals and scope.

While used on larger scale projects, the concept can be used on your own personal goals and projects.

The key to setting smart goals is right in the name:

S: Specific, simple, sensible, signifigant

M: Measureable, meaningful, motivating

A: Achievable, attainable

R: Relevant, reasonable, realistic, results-based

T: Timebound, Timely

Let’s break all that down.

S: Specific, simple, sensible, signifigant

Answer the five “W”’s

What do I need to achieve?

Why do I feel this is important?

Who is needed or involved?

Where do I need to be to achieve this?

Which resources or supplies do I need?

M: Measurable, meaningful, motivating

If you can measure your goals, you can track your progress, and helps with your motivation.

How much effort is involved?

How many steps can you break it down into?

How will you know when the goal is achieved?

A: Achievable, attainable

Your goals need to realistic. You’re not going to become a master painter in six weeks, or (most likely) become a rockstar.

Breaking down your goals into smaller steps helps you see how you can achieve and complete your goals.

R: Relevant, reasonable, realistic,

results-based

Does it matter to you?

Will achieving this goal make you happy, move you forward in your career or hobby?

Are you doing this for you?

T: Timebound, Timely

Every goal needs an end-point.

Whether this is a date, a number, or a skill, having a target in your sight will take your goals from “what if” to “I did it!”

 

Try to Avoid

Avoid goals that rely on external input to get your target output.

For example, “Get that promotion!”

Instead try, “Go through the training I need to earn the skills to be considered for this new position.

By not tying your goals to the input of others, your goals are soley focused on you and you can have more control over the output.

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