Mr. Stewart gave each of us a piece of paper with an instruction to write one of our life’s goals. After ten minutes, he collected the papers. You know what? Every piece of paper was crumpled except for Annie’s –“By September 2nd of 2009, I will position myself for a minimum raise of 9% of my salary by reducing the department’s budget by 9% but increasing its sales by at least 9%”. Then, with a smile, Mr. Stewart said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we have an example of a smart goal version of saying I want a raise!”
Smart goals? Yes, you heard it right. Here are some 101’s on these goals and some examples of smart goals:
• Specific. You know what you want to accomplish. Vague goals equate to vague results. Goals must be fully furnished with detailed description of the what, when and how.
Vague goal – I will graduate;
SMART Goal – I will graduate Magna Cum Laude in four years time. I will commit myself to studying to get a minimum 3.679 grade-point average in all my subjects.
• Measurable. You can assess your progress. Goals which can not be measured can not be managed. Your goal is measurable if anyone can tell you at the end of the deadline, whether or not you have completed your goal.
Vague goal – I want to be successful;
SMART goal – I want to have a savings account with at least $500,000 within 5 years from this date.
• Attainable. Your goal must be within your reach in your present situation. High goals that stretch you are okay, but high AND realistic goals are better. Unattainable goals can not motivate you. Easy goals on the other hand are not challenging enough. Thus, they do not contribute to your growth.
Vague goal – I want to be rich in three months;
SMART goal – I want to be rich in 8 years by starting my own food business and attending business and management seminars and workshops.
• Relevant. Goals need to be parallel to your purpose in life. Relevant goals are a sure way to direct your efforts towards attaining something that is concentrated to who you are as a person. Goals are simply instruments to accomplishing one’s mission/purpose in life.
Vague goal – Within a year, I will become a politician with large sums of money at my disposal;
SMART goal – By the end of the year, I will become a leader who will fight to increase productivity and tourism in my country.
• Time-Sensitive. Goals need to have deadlines. A goal free from time element is susceptible to procrastination.
Vague goal – I will do my research paper;
SMART goal – I will start doing my research paper by 7 tonight and finish it by 7 pm on the next day.
The aforementioned illustrates how you can make your goals smart. There are also examples of smart goals contrasted with vague goals above. Yes, success depends on goal setting—but not just plain goal setting. You have to make your goals smart!
And for you? What are your examples of smart goals?