When it comes to creating objectives for any endeavor or element of your life, having a clear and specific strategy in place is vital. However, merely setting a goal is insufficient. To realize your aspirations, you must master SMART goals by make Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals. These are usually referred to as SMART goals. These SMART goals stand for
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Achievable
- R – Relevant
- T – Time-Bound
In this article, we will delve into what smarter goals are, why goals are important and explore each of these components in detail and provide you with a step-by-step approach to setting Smart objectives and help write SMART goals.
SMART Goals defined
SMART objectives are a five-element goal-setting framework that assists you in transforming your dreams into tangible, attainable plans that increase the likelihood of achieving them.
In business, goal setting is all too frequently overlooked. Many studies on employee performance have revealed that over half of all employees are unclear of what is expected of them at work. Employees tend to become irritated, perplexed, and dis engaged when this occurs. Furthermore, they let the management down because they lack a clear picture of what aims to achieve – or how to achieve them. It should be an ideal practice to lay down SMART goals during employee onboarding.
The SMART framework provides a measurable meaning and helps organisations with a smarter approach towards setting objectives. Using SMART objectives, employees and line managers can create an action plan well in advance to improve performance, boost productivity, and contribute to organisational goals.
How SMART Objectives Work
Master SMART goals and break down your goals into smaller, more manageable parts. By focusing on each element of the SMART acronym, you can ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
S – SMART Objective
Your goal must be SPECIFIC and many times stretching, meaning that it should clearly define what you want to accomplish and it should not be vague.
For example, instead of saying “I want to get fit,” you might say “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next three months.” This gives the person a clear idea about what to achieve and by when.
Unclear and broad objectives lead to the unknown since they leave employees unsure how to respond in situations, which means you might not experience meaningful improvement in employee efficiency or target achievement. Many studies have revealed that these are the root causes why many supervisors fail to support their employees develop, understand, and attain objectives.
Studies have also indicated that apart from being specific (clear) objectives should be stretching as well, it generates a level of achievement and is motivating for the person pursuer. Caution to be exercised on the degree of stretching as the stretch needs to be realistic to ensure objectivity.
M – SMART Objective
Your goal should be MEASURABLE, It is important for both an employee and their manager to track progress and know when it has been achieved. This is why objectives need to be traceable, measurable goals.
In the example above, a quantitative measure might be “losing 10 pounds in three months” is measurable because you can track your weight and determine if you have met your target.
A – SMART Objective
Your goal should be ACHIEVABLE, meaning that it is possible for you to accomplish it with the resources and skills you have. There could be variations on the usage of words like attainable, aligned and agreed. We clearly suggest using the word achievable over the others to give a meaningful purpose.
Both the manager and employee should agree on all objectives. If the objective is imposed, there are chances that the ownership will be diluted on the employees part, and the probability of not meeting the objective will be high. On the other hand, if the employee is allowed to develop their own objectives that are aligned to the organisation goals, it is significantly more likely to be met, and to a high quality.
Also, systems like this also tend to ensure that both the parties are aligned and in tandem and agree on the objectives before they are solidified.
For example, it would not be achievable to set a goal of losing 100 pounds in three months unless you have a specific plan for how to achieve that weight loss.
R – SMART Objective
Your goal should be RELEVANT, meaning that it is important to you and aligns with your organisation values and priorities.
A successful performance target should be aligned with the mission and vision of the company or team. Otherwise, even if it is accomplished, the influence on overall performance may not be impactful, thus, negating the objective of performance management. One of the best ways to do so is to cascade the goals top down. This will help all to see beforehand the direction of pursuit. As a result, before creating individual goals, it is critical to discuss organisational or team goals with the employee in a clear and understood manner, a better approach would be post employee onboarding.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, but you do not have a strong desire to do so, it is unlikely that you will be motivated to achieve it.
T – SMART Objective
Finally, your goal should be TIME-BOUND, meaning that you have set a deadline for when you want to achieve it.
It is critical that your SMART objectives have a target date, or a time period for when they should be finished. This creates a sense of urgency and moves towards achieving it in a methodical and timed manner also, it aids in determining whether or not the objective was met successfully as per the laid out plan. If a clear success measure is defined and a target deadline is set, it should be easy to track progress toward achieving the objective. In a nutshell, goals that are smart are time bound.
In the example of losing 10 pounds in three months, the projected deadlines are clear and induce you with a sense of urgency to work towards your goal.
How to Create SMART Goals
Creating SMART goals is a straightforward process. Follow these steps to create your own SMART goals:
- Start by thinking about what you want to achieve.
- Make your goal specific.
- Make sure it is measurable.
- Ensure that it is achievable.
- Make sure it is relevant to you.
- Give yourself a deadline.
Examples – Master SMART goals
Benefits of SMART Goals
Master SMART goals and have numerous benefits, including:
- Increased motivation: When you have a specific, achievable goal, you are more likely to be motivated to work towards it.
- Better focus: SMART goals help you focus on what is important and eliminate distractions that do not align with your goals.
- Improved time management: By setting deadlines for your goals, you can better manage your time and make sure you are making progress towards your goals.
- Increased accountability: When you have a clear, measurable goal, you are more accountable to yourself and others to achieve it.
Master SMART goals for achieving your success in the personal and professional arena. By setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals, you can increase your motivation, focus, and accountability, and turn your aspirations into a reality. So start creating your SMART goals today and take the first step towards achieving your dreams.