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How To Set SMART Goals: Full Guide!

Setting goals is an effective way to achieve what you desire in life. By laying out specific goals,  you will know how to spend your time and energy towards achieving them. Otherwise, without setting clear & smart goals, it is difficult to stay focused & motivated. So, you can think of smart goals as a compass that helps you navigate through life without losing track & feeling lost.

This means setting smart goals is an important skill that everyone should develop! Therefore, in this article, we’ll help you understand what smart goals are and how you can set your own goals.

What do we mean by SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.  It is a metric that helps us set effective goals. Therefore, a SMART goal must include all of these criteria… to help you focus your efforts and boost your chances of success.

Setting and working toward objectives is crucial in all facets of business and personal life. This is because they instill a sense of purpose, inspire action, sharpen attention, and highlight the importance of certain tasks. Setting SMART goals gives you a target to shoot for and can also help you to succeed in life.  

The Importance Of SMART Goals

SMART goals make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time-bound. This allows concentrate your efforts & energy on what matters most. It also works as a guide that shows what’s working, and what needs to be changed.

Here are some important aspects of  SMART goals. 

A timely reminder of your priorities

Setting smart goals help you identify your priorities. In other words, this prevents you from wasting your energy on things that don’t matter! It also helps you invest your time, energy, and resources properly. On top of that, SMART goals help you discover what matters to you and what’s not. In return, you will be more organized, focused, and content in your professional & personal life.

It gives you the impression of containment

When you set clear & smart goals, you’re more likely to act on them. When I say smart goals I mean setting realistic and achievable goals that have a chance of success. That’s because setting unrealistic goals might feel overwhelming for you. And this leads to the loss of motivation and dissatisfaction.

However, smart goals are realistic objectives that can motivate you and provide satisfaction when achieved. After all, working on something achievable is better than working on something that has little to no chance of success.

Your eventual goal is made clear.

You would be lost and aimless if you don’t have clear goals and vision. It is not advisable to attempt to achieve objectives that are ill-defined and unclear. Nothing but wasted money and time will result from this. 

This is why smart goals are important! That’s because they reveal to us where we stand in life, and what we want to reach. This provides us with purpose and direction, which are important for success.

Gets you going

Having a goal mind means you have a purpose! And the purpose is a very strong source of motivation that can keep you going when life falls apart. That there is nothing worse than watching your life collapse, yet you have no purpose nor meaning to hold to. 

Simply, when you have a goal, it means there is something to fight for… Something to wake up for in the morning. This can provide you with strength, comfort, and motivation to keep going!

Develops self-control

Setting smart goals alone isn’t enough to succeed! Normally, to achieve anything in life, you need to work hard for it. And hard work requires discipline! So, in other words, working goals help you develop discipline and self-control. And these are essential traits to succeed in whatever you pursue.

It gives you a fresh idea to consider

Setting goals helps you become more inventive and creative over time. Consequently, it fosters original thought. You’ll have a fresh outlook on things as a result, and it will help you consistently work toward your objectives.

It aids in time management

Working on your goals requires good organizational & time management skills. In other words, to achieve any of your goals, you have to manage your time properly. This is a must!

As a result, this will help you manage your time more properly and work under pressure! And these two qualities are crucial to succeed!

Cons And Pros Of SMART Goals

SMART goals have many advantages and pros; we will look at a few. 

Pros

Setting SMART goals will improve your intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation has a significant impact on our SMART goals & vice versa. If you want to be a great footballer or writer, your motivation will be intrinsic. Perhaps you enjoy football or literature and writing.

Your objectives have inner/personal significance and value to you. Thus, everything you do to achieve them stems from intrinsic motivation. So, setting smart goals that have personal significance enhances your inner motivation. That’s because your goals are driven by something you enjoy and value… Something you consider meaningful & rewarding to you!

As a result, this strengthens your inner motivation and drive to achieve those goals.

You will be able to identify missing targets quickly

Having a clear goal makes it simpler to plan out the process and pinpoint the steps you missed if you did. 

It is easier to gauge how close the goal is to being achieved if you implement SMART goals. Additionally, it is simpler to see whether you are doing well and what needs to improve.

It is simpler to picture success.

The ability to track progress makes it easy to assess your performance. Therefore, it is simpler to foresee the long-term outcomes and how they will turn out. In other words, with smart goals, it is easier to have a picture of your success and what to improve to get there faster!

Make big goals into manageable, smaller ones.

One pro of SMART goals is the ability to try several approaches to the problem-solving process. As a first step, you can divide the overall objective into smaller, more manageable goals. Avoid attempting to overwork yourself by undertaking a big assignment. 

Goals are specific

The best way to concentrate on your goals is by making specific ones; You can’t stay on track by setting vague goals. When you achieve your goals, this will also help you to make adjustments along the route.

This is also why smart goals are a great help! That’s because they help you set goals that are specific and realistic. This saves you a lot of time and effort jumping around from one goal to another!

Cons

Now that we have looked at some of the pros of SMART goals, though they are few, SMART goals still have some cons. 

Setting objectives for a marathon lifestyle

Working in a fast-paced, deadline-driven setting will alter your lifestyle. Your health may deteriorate, and you will be under stress most of the time. Although SMART goals provide a metric for effective goal-setting! The metric doesn’t provide insight into how to pursue your goals without burning yourself.

This means that it is your duty to take care of your health! You should find a balance between working on your goals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Obsession with success

The urge to succeed may cause you to develop an obsession with goal accomplishment. In this case, you’ll neglect your health, relationships with others, and spirituality in favor of your goals. In severe circumstances, this may cause you to become separated from family and friends and sever relationships.

Addiction to goal setting 

Setting objectives for their own sake and attempting to distract yourself with pursuits… that have nothing to do with the work at hand are other aspects of this goal-setting approach. 

You will sometimes resort to actions even at odds with your principles to make money. These behaviors negatively impact your social standing and how others see you in society. 

Confusion about your identity.

The constant pressure can cause you to question your place in society. You may experience an identity crisis as a result of this. In turn, you may perform poorly in your personal life and eventually become ill.

Tips To Set SMART Goals

Before setting a goal, you need to outline what you want to achieve. This will ensure that your objectives are clear and attainable. Here are some significant tips to use in setting a SMART goal:

S- Specific

Be as explicit and specific as possible about your goals. The more specific your goal, the better you’ll comprehend the methods required to reach it.

You must first narrow it down to comprehend how to reach it. One example is; that I want to travel to Turkey for my next holiday as opposed to I want to travel to Turkey. 

M- Measurable

It is good to specify your work, but it is better if you have well-defined criteria that track your progress toward achieving the goal.

Your ability to measure progress toward a goal is essential for success. What evidence do you have for your effort? You have established a clear goal in the preceding step. Now you have to gauge your progress. Setting quantifiable objectives will enable you to review your progress and alter your course of action. 

Recognize your efforts when you progress toward an objective and give yourself credit where it is deserved. For instance, “I will take three courses on SEO in two months.” This goal would be quantifiable.

A- Achievable

You must assess the objective to determine whether it is realistic before working toward it. Is there a time frame in which you want to achieve your goal? Is it realistic? 

Setting goals you can practically achieve in a specific period will help you stay motivated and focused. 

Are you qualified and well-prepared for the goal you want to achieve? If preparations are to be made, you should make them before setting a goal.

For instance, if your goal is to travel to France, you need an international passport and visa before traveling to the country. Because of this, you should apply for a visa and ensure that your application is approved before adding it to your goals to make it achievable. 

R- Relevant

You have already made long-term objectives or plans. Then, you must determine whether your objectives are consistent with your beliefs and pertinent to your plans. You may want to reconsider your strategy if your short-term objectives and personal aspirations are at odds. 

To attain your long-term goals, ask yourself some probing questions. Consider why the objective is significant to you, and consider how it will advance your personal development. The same example suggests that you might write: “To reach your objective of becoming a team leader, you will need to upskill to obtain the required skills. Then, you should update your resume with the relevant qualifications to apply as a  team leader.”

T- Time Bound

You need to set a timeline to assess success accurately and decide when a goal has been met.

Think about a time range that would allow you to accomplish your goal, as the name says. Verify the realisticness of this time frame. Give yourself a set amount of time, like six months, to achieve your goal of getting a promotion. For instance, “To finish SEO courses, I will need to register for the courses and allocate some hours daily for taking the courses.”

How To Achieve Your SMART Goals

Setting goals is significant! But achieving those goals will be your final measure of success. It will help you figure out if your actions are moving you toward your long-term vision (or not).

Even though setting goals is an essential part of life, it is often confusing or done wrong. Setting and achieving goals can trip up even the most well-functioning people. That’s why we have listed some ways to help you achieve your goals. 

Prioritize

After you’ve established your SMART goals and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, the next step is to set your priorities. Prioritization is essential to achieving your goals, but it is not technically a part of the process. 

You need to identify your priorities, and once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start achieving your goals. Make room for your top three goals for each priority area you’ve identified. However, You may risk being pulled in too many directions simultaneously if you have too many goals.

Get people’s opinions and a general agreement

This step is significant if you work with a team to set and achieve SMART goals. By giving your people a chance to say what they think and a chance to be heard! You make it more likely that they will support the process.

Not only that, but your people will probably be able to find problems with your goals. Maybe they aren’t important enough, some of the numbers aren’t realistic, or there aren’t enough resources to reach the goals. Get as many people’s opinions as possible before making a decision.

Keep a progress log

Keeping a journal can do wonders for your health and motivation. All that’s required is you put your ideas on paper so you can refer back to them later. This uncomplicated strategy has been shown to positively affect stress levels, creative output, positive mood, physical health, and productivity.

Believe that better times are ahead

Always have an optimistic mindset. Have faith that if you put in the time and effort, you can accomplish your SMART goals. If you believe that and use all the tips, things will improve.

Examples of SMART Goal Settings

There are so many goals that one can set to achieve in life. It could be a career goal, a reading goal, a lifestyle, a diet, or a travel goal. Remember that whichever goal you want to set needs to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Here are some examples of SMART goals. 

Spend more time with your family

The people who make up your family are very important to you, so you may want to make spending time with them a top priority.

This is a SMART goal example because… You can do this by setting a reminder on your mobile calendar to call or visit them.

A weak goal example is… Want to spend more time with your family but not set reminders or visiting days with them? 

Exercising regularly

Exercise is a vital aspect of our health that will make you look fine and keep you in good shape.

A SMART goal example is exercising regularly and consistently. 

Register in a good gym and set a daily or weekly time for a workout. Make sure to have an achievable workout goal like getting fit, gaining weight, or being able to do a hundred sit-ups. 

A lousy goal example of a regular workout is not registering in a gym and not doing any exercise at home. Instead, you procrastinate because the goal is not time-bound. 

Starting a business

Starting a business is easier than people think. What is hard is not giving up when things don’t seem to work out. Businesses take time to pick up, so having a SMART goal is vital before you begin a business. 

A SMART goal example of starting a business is;

Make sure to follow all the tips in SMART goals and ensure that the business you want to begin is something you can achieve within a time frame. 

A bad example of the above is starting a business you know you cannot achieve and isn’t relevant to you and the community.

Reading more

Reading is informative, educative, and entertaining; you can learn lots of things when you read regularly.

An excellent example of a SMART reading goal is creating a Goodreads account and setting a reading challenge for yourself, which could be that you want to read 60 books in a year. 

The above goal is time-bound and achievable; reading five books a month will certainly achieve your goal. 

A bad example of a reading goal is setting an unrealistic time frame for achieving your goal of reading 60 books in a year. 

Final Thoughts

Your SMART goals and aspirations for self-improvement can be anything you want them to be. You need only ensure that you have the self-control, means, and motivation to get there.

With any luck, you’ve found this SMART goal-setting guide helpful.

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