We’ve all got goals, some big and some small. While goals may be as seemingly insignificant as finishing a cup of coffee the first time without having to microwave it, goals also might be as broad as growing a business. Whatever your goal is, think about it. How did you create this goal? What are your steps to achieve this goal? I know this can seem daunting at first, but there is a way that will allow you to create worthwhile goals, just the right amount of challenging, and that you can accomplish and set out to achieve! If you’ve never heard of SMART goals, you’ve come to the right place. If you have heard of these, you’re still in the right place. Let’s dive in!
What does SMART stand for?
When creating a goal and the ways you will achieve it, using this acronym can help you get started. The “S” stands for Specific, the “M” stands for Measurable, the “A” stands for Attainable, the “R” stands for Relevant, and the “T” stands for Time-bound. These are all things to consider when coming up with your goals and how to tackle them.
“S” is for Specific
Break down the goal. In this stage of SMART, you’ll ask yourself what exactly your goal is aiming to achieve. Come up with a list of specifics, including the exact things that to accomplish. It’s also important to recognize if others are needed to complete this goal as well as where it will take place. You can also ask yourself the “why” question of why you want to accomplish this in the first place
Example: I want to grow my small business by taking on two new clients per month so that I can have a fuller workload and pay my rent. Doing this will involve me, my assistant, and future clients.
“M” is for Measurable
How will you know if you complete the goal? It’s essential that you come up with a way to measure your success and where you stand in your journey to achieve your goal. You will need to recognize what your future action steps are, how much more needs to change to reach it, and how you will measure success.
Example: I will know I succeeded when I have two new clients per month. To get here, I will need to set up checkpoints with myself each week to see if I made any progress. I may only be halfway there, but I know the next two weeks I am capable of completing the goal.
“A” is for Attainable
It is finding the balance between what is challenging and do-able. You will want your goal to be right in the middle of the “This is too easy” and “This is too hard” mindsets. Just like Goldilocks, find the goal that is just right. Try to avoid jumping to extremes, but also avoid going too easy on yourself. It’s important to challenge yourself positively. Think about the resources you have or will need to achieve the goal, if it is of reasonable difficulty, and if it is something you will be able to complete.
Example: If I were to aim for ten new clients per month, I know it would be impossible because I don’t have the time to do that. If my goal were to get one new client per month, it would be too easy. Landing on two allows me to focus on my goal, and I can always edit my goal moving forward. If I focus my time on reaching out to new clients, I can reach this goal.
“R” is for Relevant
Is this really what I should be aiming to do right now? Your goals should come into play at the right time. If you’re still in school, don’t make your goal something that isn’t relevant to your next steps. Make sure your goal is something meaningful to you as well, as it will make it difficult to work towards a goal that you are just doing to impress others or because you feel like you “should” do it. We’ve all been there! You have to recognize whether or not you are willing to do what it takes to complete
Example: This goal of two new clients is something I want to commit to achieving. Others told me to just wait and let new clients come to me, but it is meaningful for me to put myself out there, and I am committed to achieving this goal.
“T” is for Time-bound
There’s never a perfect time – but it does matter! Set deadlines for reaching this goal, or set up milestones along the way. Outline exactly when you will reach certain milestones, and come up with a plan (if you need ideas, check out my planning section here). There should always be a time frame; otherwise, it will be hard to stay motivated to get things done. Think in baby steps: what to do today, in a week, in a month, and beyond!
Example: My goal for two new clients a month needs to be reached by the end of six months. Then, I can calculate exactly how much more work I am able to take on and see if I need to change my goal. Today, I can start by reaching out to potential clients.
In Summary…You’ve Got This!
No matter what your goals are, I hope you were able to use this introduction to SMART goals to help you see just where this method of goal creating can take you. I’d love to hear from you about your methods of using SMART goals, and if you have any tips or tricks to share.
As always, thanks for reading!
This post was written and researched by Caroline Johnson of Line Writing Co. Editing and formatting done by Elizabeth of Jihi Elephant