Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Your Quick Guide to Setting SMART Goals

Getting to the line
One of the key elements for success in ANY long-term venture, whether it be a career plan, a home project, or even a life-long ambition, is the definition and setting of goals.

Goals are the blueprint for your success and as such need to be thought out carefully. Without them your plans are likely to fail or at least go off track more often than you would like. You could end up bored, disillusioned, even bankrupt, all because you failed to plan properly.

Goals matter because they set a record of your intentions, perfectly clarified and with deadlines. If you intend to do anything big at all it's necessary to set clear and SMART goals.

Setting SMART Goals

You will probably have heard about SMART, an acronym open to interpretation by different experts or management gurus, but essentially summarised as:

  • Specific - goals are clear and well-defined, not woolly or indistinct.
  • Measurable, that is, you need to be able to check your progress as you work toward your goals.
  • Achievable - goals that your particular knowledge, skill, and determination will enable you to get to.
  • Relevant. Of course goals should be relevant to your particular ambition or overall life/health or career aim.
  • Time-bound - meaning that you set the time framework for your ambitions.

Goals can also be divided into short, medium or long term - so you have steps along the way. Setting just long term goals can be demoralising and lead to you abandoning your dreams. Not ideal at all! By setting shorter and medium term goals as well as long, you can link your ambitions and take smaller, measurable steps toward the horizon.

Your goals should also complement each other, be true to your personality and fit your perceived life-style. It's no good setting yourself radically different goals from the way you are or behave. While it is possible to change yourself completely, you should ask yourself first why you want to.

Goals should also be balanced, and physically possible!

Phew, who thought setting goals could be so complicated? Yet without proper goals your ambitions will falter, your enthusiasm wane and your achievements wilt like roses robbed of water.

The Importance of Goals

Goals keep you motivated, because having something to focus on keeps your mind active and your thoughts clear. Your actions should all flow toward your goals. By constantly monitoring, moving along, adjusting and realigning them the stepping stones of your goals will merge into a clear and concrete path.

But goals should be fun to work toward, which is why making them SMART is the best option. Life shouldn't be a slog, but a series of great achievements and balance. With SMART goals you won't fall off the path. You'll have more energy, better intent, a clearer vision and measurable successes along the way to your dreams.

SMART goals are definitely the way to go, but...

Don't forget to enjoy yourself along the way!

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