SMART Goals

Smart Goals for Leadership Success...

Everyone has heard about setting goals to get to the next level.  And people do set goals, but many never achieve them. 

Why?  Because most of those goals are vague.  When you set a vague goal, you will end up with vague results.

We've all set vague goals throughout our life and we usually don't reach them.  Many of these goals aren't really that important, so we just shuffle it to the back of our mind and forget about it.

This has become a way of thinking for many of you.  Set a vague goal, don't reach it, forget about it.

Some popular goals are to "lose weight" or "get more exercise" "read more books" and so on.  Do you ever reach them?  Usually not.  Although, there are some people that can reach a vague goal, but for most of us it doesn't work.

SMART Goals

Since this is a dilemma that many of us fall into, we need to all retrain ourselves so that we can reach these goals.

To get started, you need to know where you want to go.  Then, you need a plan to get there.  By following a plan and accounting for every step you take towards it, you will then be able to achieve your goals.

How to Set Goals

So, how do you go about setting goals that are achievable?  By setting SMART goals.  SMART is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.


S - Specific.  The goal must be exactly what you want.  Make it clear and easy to understand.  By making the goals specific, you, employees or family will know just what needs to be done.  To help you set a specific goal, you will need to answer:


  • What do I want to achieve?


  • Why do I want to achieve this goal?


  • How can I go about achieving the goal?


By setting clear, well-defined smart goals, you have a better chance of achieving them.  One example would be wanting lose weight.  Setting a goal of wanting to lose ten pounds by bicycling each day for 20 minutes on a stationary bike is specific. 

Wanting to increase sales is not clear.  But setting a goal for three new customers each month by talking to ten new prospects each week tells you exactly what you need to do.


M - Measurable.  Smart goals that are measurable are achievable.  If you can't measure your goal, how will you know whether you achieved this goal or not?  Again, you need to be specific. 

"I want to lose weight" is vague.  If you lost a 1/2 pound is that considered a success for your goal?  If you wanted to lose 5 pounds, then a 1/2 pound could be a measurable target towards that goal.  If you really wanted to lose 40 pounds, then a 1/2 pound is negligible. 

By saying you want to lose two pounds a week for a total of 40 pounds within six months is a measurable goal.  You have a way to check to see if you're reaching your goal or not.


A - Attainable.  Your smart goals need to be achievable.  Many people set goals that are a fantastic dream but are out of their reach.  When you don't achieve your goal, you become disappointed, your attitude becomes negative and then you stop setting goals. 

To avoid that, you should set goals that can be reached a little at a time.  Its important to set goals that are important to you and there's a way to figure out how to achieve them.  Your attitude towards them will be upbeat and you will learn the skills and find a way financially to help you achieve your smart goals.

If your goals are set too high, subconsciously, you will prevent yourself from committing to them and put little effort into achieving these goals. 

On the other hand, a goal needs to be a little out of your reach so that you have to work hard and feel good about attaining the goal.

For example, you want to become a top manager in a high-tech company within ten years.  You might want to start off by taking business classes in a college.  The next goal could be getting an entry level position in a high tech company.  Over the next few years, new smart goals could be set to move up the ladder within the company or changing employers.

Another example is trying to lose 30 pounds in two months.  This goal is set too high and for most people is not attainable.  If you set the goal to lose ten pounds in two months, you have a better chance of achieving this goal.


R - Realistic.  Smart goals need to be realistic or do-able.  The goal should be one that you are willing to undertake and that you are able to reach it.  If you believe your goal is something you can achieve, then it is probably realistic. 

If you set too high or too low of a goal, then the motivational factor isn't there to help you achieve this goal.  Remember, each person is different.  One person may set a high goal that is realistic but could be unrealistic for another.  Sometimes its helpful to talk it out with someone to help you find out if the goal is realistic.

An example of a realistic goal is to be able to walk three miles a day by the end of two months.  This is where you start slow and walk one mile for a couple of weeks and then increase it by half a mile every two weeks.  An unrealistic goal would be to run a marathon in one month when you've never run before.


T - Timely.  Smart goals need a timeframe of when it will be accomplished.  Without a timeframe, you'll continuously put it off until you "get around to it."    A really good goal has an end, where you can reach it in a certain timeframe. 

An example would be starting your own business.  When would you want to start it by?  "Someday" doesn't cut it.  It ends up being a dream rather than a goal.  If you say you want to start a business by June 15th, then you have a reasonable timeframe to start working towards.


Writing SMART Goals

SMART Goals are a way to identify what is important to you so that you can have a good attitude towards achieving them.  You must write your goals down.  If your goals aren't written, then it is harder to achieve them. 

You will need to develop several goals, both long term and short term.  A long term goal could be to increase sales for the company by $1 million dollars within two years.  That can be broken down into short term weekly or monthly goals to help you achieve the results. 

Remember, make sure your goals are well defined and specific, progress is measurable, it is attainable and realistic for your situation and has a deadline of when it needs to be reached.

Now is the time to take out pen and paper or use a computer to write down your goals.  Once you have achieved one, then move onto the next.



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