An Introduction to the SMART Method of Goal Setting
Goals give the human mind direction. They provide a focus, something to work towards. Goals also provide rewards. They uplift you with the feeling of achievement, once you have reached your goals. People who don’t set goals, especially long-term goals, usually lack direction in life. They get pushed from side to side by others, and blown in every direction by the wind.
The S.M.A.R.T technique is arguably the best amongst all goal setting techniques. It first came to light in a 1981 Management Review paper written by George T. Doran. The method gained widespread popularity, when the then CEO of General Electric adopted it in the company. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym, and its full meaning details what a goal should be like in the first place, to assure its speedy completion.
S – Specific
This is the very foundation of the technique. You have to be specific. This means knowing exactly what you want. If it’s weight that you want to lose, for example, you have to know exactly how much weight you are planning to lose. If you want a car, you have to know exactly what type of car, the make and the model.
M – Measurable
The second aspect of a S.M.A.R.T goal is that the goal you are working towards has to have a method of measuring it. You have to know when a tenth of the goal, half or all of it has been achieved. If you are losing weight, this means defining your ideal weight. If you want money, this means knowing exactly how much.
A – Achievable
Setting an impossible goal is nothing more than foolery. Wanting to grow wings and fly within two weeks is an impossible goal, for example. Wanting to double your income within six months, is on the other hand, quite achievable. You need to set goals that you either have the skill-set, the know how, or other means of achieving.
R – Realistic
To set a realistic goal, means staying within your capabilities and personal identity. You might have the skill-set or the resources to achieve it, but will it really be of any use to you? Do you really want to run a very huge company? Do you really want to lose so much weight? Will becoming very slim be of any real use to you? Or will it even become a health issue for you?
T – Timely
Deadlines are what get people working. Without a deadline, you might procrastinate, and possibly fail. But if you add a deadline to your goal, then a sense of urgency arises, and you are much more likely to get it done and over with.
It’s important to note that none of these five points are more important than the other. In order to successfully achieve a goal, you must have to incorporate all five points into your plan.