The saying ‘Smart Goals’ is something that has been talked about for some time now. It is used as a way to help people break down goals and ensure they become more likely to actually achieve them. Goals are hugely important in life, whether it be more on the personal side and feeling fulfilled. Or whether it be in your work life and business. So, in this article I will be answering the question what are smart goals to help you set smart goals, meaning you’re more likely to reach them. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For more information check out my affiliate disclosure.
As Chronic Entrepreneurs setting goals is something we need to become accustomed to. We have extra needs to take into account as so being aware of these whilst creating our goals is important. This is where Smart Goals can come in, and where they can be even more helpful to us.
What are Smart Goals?
Wikipedia notes the first time it was mentioned was in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”.
So, what are Smart Goals? S-M-A-R-T is an acronym to help you define your goal.
S – Specific
You need your goal to be specific. For example, you may be thinking you want to earn some extra money. Well, for it to be specific you need to know exactly how much you want to earn, and what it’s for. Or, let’s say you want to live a more intentional life (I find people saying that quite a lot nowadays). So, what does being more intentional mean to you? What exactly does that look like? It may be something that happens each day, like taking time to be mindful.
Asking and answering these 5 ‘W’ questions will help you ensure your goal is specific:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
M – Measurable
This is where the ‘how‘ questions come in. There needs to be something by which you measure your goal, so you know you have completed it. You might measure it by time, or perhaps a different number if related to money or something.
Taking our being more intentional example, where you’re planning to practice mindfulness each day, how long do you want to do it for? You might choose 5 minutes per day. Then you know when those 5 minutes are up, you’ve accomplished your goal for that day. You’ll also want to think about how long you want to do this for, but we’ll get on to that later.
If your goal is financial then you need to work out the details of exactly how much you’re aiming for. Whether it’s an extra income you want to earn, or savings you want to make. You need to put a figure on it.
So, asking and answering these ‘how‘ questions will help make sure your goal is measurable:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
A – Achievable
Ensuring your goal is achievable is such an important part of goal setting. As much as I am a huge believer in setting goals that stretch you, they need to be attainable. So a goal that you can actually complete.
Take into account your current circumstances and what your life is like right now. As Chronic Entrepreneurs our health needs to be a factor in this. Setting a goal that you’re unable to reach is only going to make you feel worse about yourself and your chronic illness.
To be confident that your goal is achievable ask yourself these questions:
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial, time and health factors?
R – Relevant
Making sure your goal is relevant is all about making it align with your ‘why’. In other words, it has to matter to you. It also needs to fit in with your current personal and work life. It helps to think about your goal and feel happy that it is something you really want to achieve, and not something someone else has asked of you. While doing this, decide if it aligns with your other goals and personal commitments at the moment.
T – Time-bound
This is where time comes into things. This is aligned with the ‘measurable’ part of Smart Goals, but here we are giving our goal a time limit. I recommend setting yourself goals that don’t stretch over too long a period of time. If that happens we tend to lose focus on them, and they lose their power. If your goal does happen to be long-term, then break it down into smaller chunks.
Let’s take earning an extra income as an example. You want to earn an extra $/£3000 in a year. Let’s break that down into a monthly target so it feels more attainable; $/£250 a month. Then, I recommend rewarding yourself at milestones. Also, reassess your goal at 3, 6 and 9 month marks. See if you can’t stretch yourself more and even increase your monthly and overall goal, too.
By checking in monthly you get to touch your goal on a regular basis. Of course, I also recommend breaking it down further, into a weekly or even daily goal. Because you don’t want to get to the end of the month and be no where near the $/£250 mark. If you’re tracking it weekly or even daily, you can keep yourself more accountable.
So, I hope that has helped explain Smart Goals to you and that you feel confident in setting your own Smart Goals. If goal setting is something you’re interested in then you may like to check out my series on hacks to help you reach your goals. Stay tuned for these posts.
In the meantime, why not come and join our group of Chronic Entrepreneurs and share your thoughts on goal setting and Smart Goals with us there 🙂