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Using the S.M.A.R.T. Method to Set Attainable Goals

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Do you get cold feet at the beginning of a project? Do you struggle in boosting the productivity of your team? If your answer to these questions is yes, need to set specific goals and keep on achieving them in real time and boom! You’ve completed your project.

set goals text on dart board

S.M.A.R.T. goals are designed to guide and provide structure to your project throughout its journey and help you identify what you actually want to accomplish through it. This method is extremely helpful in aligning an employee’s goal with that of the company’s, so that the end result is success.

What Are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?

S.M.A.R.T goals are a rather new idea in the industry but have tremendous potential in taking you to the top. This concept was first introduced in 1981 by George T. Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company.

He published a paper called, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” In his document he introduced the S.M.A.R.T. goals as tools for creating criteria in order to increase the chances of successfully attaining a goal.

What Does S.M.A.R.T. Stand For?

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound.

word letter SMART with their meaning

a. Specific

When setting a goal, you should be specific about what you want to achieve through it. You should be able to answer the ‘Wh’ questions regarding your goal, that is:

Who: Chalk out the people you will need in order to meet your goal. This is extremely important when working on a group project.

What: Here you need to clearly outline what you are trying to achieve. Do not be afraid to outline your goals in a detailed fashion.

When: You will get a more detailed answer to this question in the ‘time bound’ section, however, you should at least set a time frame here.

Where: This question may not be applicable in all scenarios, but if it is, you should decide the location here.

Which: Identify any obstacles or requirements that you might encounter while accomplishing your goal. This is especially helpful in identifying whether the goal that you are setting is actually attainable.

Why: here, you will define the reason for setting your goal.

b. Measurable

Here you will determine the methods that you are going to use in order to accomplish your goal. This helps in making your goal more tangible as it gives you a way by which you can determine the project’s progress. If your project is going to span over several months, you can set smaller goals to accomplish in the time allotted.

c. Achievable

This is where you focus on determining how important your goal is for you and how you can achieve it. You can also make a list of the skills and tools that you might need to add in order to make your goal more achievable. 

d. Relevant

Decide about the relevance of your goal in order to meet with the broader business goals. Your goal and the company’s objectives cannot be different.

e. Time Bound

Setting goals is easy, but meeting them in real time is difficult. Setting a time constraint is an equally important task. You can frame specific questions regarding the goal deadline and what you can achieve during that time period.

You should also be clear how much work should be done by the time you reach the mid-point of your set time goal. When you set time constraints, you create a sense of urgency.

By using the S.M.A.R.T. method, you can easily set attainable goals and take your career and your company to new heights, smartly.