Why do people set goals? The simple answer is that most of the successful people in the world including athletes, academics, and even celebrities got to where they are by setting achievable goals. Goals help a person to define exactly what it is they want, why they want it, and how to get there. Goals assist in motivating you to get ahead and focus your resources in a way that is efficient and systematic. But how do you make sure you reach those goals? By using the SMART format of course!
Setting specific objectives is probably one of the most difficult parts of goal-setting. But once you’ve done this part the whole process becomes much easier. Being specific means defining who, what, where, when, why, and how. It’s important to find out who needs to carry out a specific task in order to reach the goal, what exactly that goal is, and where that goal is going to take you. All of this would be pointless, however, if you do not understand why you are doing it. The final step of being specific is drawing up a step-by-step plan in the form of a flowchart with a clear way of understanding how to get from one step to the next.
The steps taken to reach your goal must be measurable. This means that there has to be a way to know whether you’ve reached the goal or not, and how much progress you’ve made. The easiest way to make something measurable is to give it a number. For example, if your goal is to save money, you need to put an exact figure down to know whether you’ve reached that goal or not.
If you’re struggling to reach that measurable target, it might be time to rethink if the goal is achievable. It is difficult to define whether something is achievable or not, especially if you haven’t tried it before. A good exercise to determine whether something is achievable or not is to list the limitations you may have. Following our example of saving, you might want to save $1000 a month, but when you list your income and all of your unavoidable expenses, you might realize that there are only so many ways you can get more money and so many places you can cut expenses. You can then redefine your goal to something more reasonable with as many facts and considerations in front of you as possible.
This relates strongly to your specifics of why you want to achieve the goal. You may have defined the main or overall reason you want to achieve this thing, but now it’s time to start listing benefits of reaching this marker. Reminding yourself of why the goal is relevant will keep you motivated to get through the tough parts.
One of the biggest dangers of setting goals is that you start the process and it seems to drift on forever and ever. This is why it’s important to set deadlines for when you have to achieve certain steps toward the goal. Remember to keep the timelines achievable and specific. After you’ve completed these five steps, you’re well on your way to setting and achieving smart goals!