WE humans love models; they give our goals and aspirations a sense of achievability. They make difficult tasks seem that much more achievable. Even for goal setting, there is a model, popularly known as SMART. The first known use of the term occurs in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran; it is a simple to follow strategy you can begin to implement today in pursuit of your goals and aspirations.
Each of the letters in “SMART” relates to one aspect of it:
S – Specific
The first aspect of this theory instructs us to be specific in our objective. For example, many would be entrepreneurs have the vague notion of “wanting to become rich”. The problem is rich means many different things to different people and does nothing to clarify what “rich” means to you as an individual. For one person, $5,000 a month means rich, while to another it’s just peanuts. Much more useful is something like, “I will double my income this year”. This is much more relatable to you as the individual.
M – Measurable
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. If you want to lose weight it sure makes sense to measure your weight at least weekly so you know where you are at any point in time. Therefore if you say to yourself “I will shed 5 pounds this month”, you can easily tell whether this is actually happening or not.
A – Attainable
For anything to remotely work it needs to feel achievable. It’s great to aim for the stars, but you still need to have some sense of the road before you; therefore you should be practical about your goals. Challenge yourself a bit, but not too much, otherwise you will lose your motivation when the inevitable challenges come up. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to anyone else. Just focus on improving yourself.
R – Relevant
Do your goals still mean anything to you today? The person you were yesterday is undoubtedly different to the person you are today. Circumstances change. Ambitions change. Make sure to examine your goals regularly to see whether they are still relevant and feasible.
T – Time Sensitive
Without giving your goals some sort of time limit, then the inevitable temptation is to procrastinate. This is just human nature. Setting a time limit and telling others about it (to keep yourself accountable) is a great way to keep you focused and motivated.
Keep the SMART model in mind the next time you are setting your goals and objectives. You will find that you are not only able to achieve your goals quicker, but you can also get a great sense of satisfaction out of the process.