Setting SMART Goals
How Realistic is Your Goal?
Author: Tealee A. Brown| Artwork By: Kinga Barcs
In a world where being productive is at the top of the list of things one gets admired and followed for, having goals as an individual, group, or organisation is more than a front. It is the essence for which we exist. You don’t think so? Imagine you work your whole life with no specific goal in sight; Imagine you build an organisation with absolutely no particular end goal in mind. With all that imagined, take your time to answer these questions, “Why then are you working?”; “Why then did you start that organisation?” “What is your mission, and how do you get to fulfilling it?” — I bet you have major difficulty satisfactorily answering these questions even to yourself.
Goals are like guiding principles. They tell us what we want. They make us see vividly what we are trying to achieve. And they drive us in the direction to get where we want to get.
Over the last two years in university, I have come to learn a lot. However, every time I think of it, a part of me realizes that the lessons that might most times seem too little are what we take with us far in life, or more importantly, that brings us far in life. Upon my first uni year, we were taught and reminded of the “basics”; “Set SMART goals” they reminded the rest of my freshman class and me over and over again. It was no doubt my first time hearing anything of the sort, especially where the “SMART” is concerned. I can only capitalise every letter there now because I later came to learn that the “SMART” here isn’t just “smart” but, in fact, an acronym.
Because our goals are like our compass, the more straightforward, simpler, and more to the point they are, the easier it is for us to be guided by them. SMART goal setting is a method used to ensure that the goals we set are clear, more realistic and reachable. The basic criteria adopted in this goal-setting method is as follows: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
- Specific: when we set specific goals, we avoid generalising. Specific goal setting means that the goals we set are clear, simple, sensible, and to the point, as can be. In specific goal setting, we don’t just say what we want long-term; it is a short-term approach. Here, we are simplistic about where we want to get and open about how exactly we plan to get there. A resource I read online stated, “specific goal setting clarifies the difference between ‘I want to be a millionaire’ and ‘I want to make €50.000 a month for the next ten years by creating a new software product’”.
- Measurable: in one context or the other, we have all at one point in our lives heard the words “measure of impact” or “measure of success”. Similar to the terms, setting measurable goals refers to outlining/defining precisely what you will see, hear, and feel when you reach your goal. When we set measurable goals, we identify what we want the concrete evidence of our efforts to be at the end of the day.
- Attainable: The critical question to ask at this stage of SMART goal setting is, “Is it possible to achieve this goal given the situation I am in and the time I have?” If your answer to this question is “yes”, then you have set an attainable goal. If your answer is “no”, that’s a clear sign that you still need to break your goal down into smaller parts. Setting goals that are impossible to achieve given our circumstances put us at the risk of compromising our self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Relevant: Does your goal matter to you? How does it align with your life and higher purpose? How does it compliment the other goals you have? Evaluating the relevance of your goal is how you establish control over them and ensure they make sense to you.
- Time-Bound: I know we like to call ourselves “procrastinators”, but how I see it is, we are simply “deadline-driven”. That is why it is advisable to set target dates when we set our goals — nothing like a deadline to send you into action. By giving every goal or task on our list a timeline for completion, we can stay motivated to put in the necessary work and keep track of all we do.
When we aim to set SMART goals, some key questions we can let guide us through the process includes (in no particular order) what exactly do I want to achieve?, where can I achieve it?, how can I reach my goal? When can I achieve it? With whom do I achieve it? What are the conditions and limitations to achieving this goal? Why exactly do I want to reach this goal? What are possible alternative ways of achieving the same?
As you go forth to set your own SMART goals, we hope that the universe guides and be with you. Stay Safe, friends.
At EXPEERTS.club, we set SMART goals and support and push each other to achieve them through our accountability teams. We are a club of women working toward the achievement of a “fair future for all”. Check us out http://www.expeerts.club/ and on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/expeertsclub/ .
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— A happy life to you & yours.