Creating SMART Goals for Success
Increasing productivity means surpassing your previous best. It happens only when you adopt new goals that build upon past performances. Adopt and nurture the “Let’s beat our best” attitude with team members on a one-on-one basis. Earn behind-the-scenes agreement and commitment from key group members before presenting new, challenging goals to the entire team. Lay a positive foundation by making effective and SMART goals to accomplish achievement.
S stands for SPECIFIC.
A goal is specific when it is clearly defined. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal, ask yourself:
• WHO: Who is involved?
• WHAT: What do I want to accomplish?
• WHERE: Identify a location.
• WHEN: Establish a time frame.
• WHICH: Identify requirements and constraints.
• WHY: Specify reasons, purpose, or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
M stands for MEASURABLE.
A goal is measurable when it can be quantified. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
A stands for ATTAINABLE.
A goal is attainable when it is humanly possible to accomplish. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set — when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable — not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals, you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
R stands for REALISTIC.
A goal is realistic when it represents an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seemed easy simply because they were a labor of love.
A goal is realistic when you truly believe that it can be accomplished with the time and resources available to you. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past. Another way to help you determine if a goal is realistic is to ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
T stands for TANGIBLE.
A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses — that is, taste, touch, smell, sight, or hearing. When your goal is tangible, or when you tie an intangible goal to a tangible, you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.
Intangible goals are your goals for the internal changes required to reach more tangible goals. They are the personality characteristics and the behavior patterns you must develop to pave the way to success in your career or for reaching some other long-term goal. Since intangible goals are vital for improving your effectiveness, give close attention to tangible ways of measuring them. Pose this question to yourself, “What evidence of accomplishment will there be when I reach this goal?”
As you seek continuous professional and personal improvement, it is vital for you to set specific productivity goals. To reach any destination you need to know where you are going so you can plan the best way to get there.