How To Set Your Goals – The SMART Way

Wide Impact
Wide Impact
By Dr. Salam Slim Saad

It can be argued that we plan our lives daily without being aware of it. We wake up, mostly on the same routine, go to work or collage, do the things we usually do, and then we stop to rest or relax just before going to sleep.  Almost everything we do daily is planned in advance. Yet if you look closer, you’ll find out that not all plans are created equal. The plan that most people have for their lives is something more like a collection of random goals rather than one well-thought plan. But there’s a special theory which can help you make this special type of plan and achieve your life goals along with it. And no, it’s not a mysterious philosophy or a cryptic fortune telling. It’s simply SMART theory of goal setting which is the acronym describing 5 characteristics every successful goal needs to have… Go ahead and read to find out what they are!

Now I’m sure you’ve heard of the SMART goal setting theory. Or have you?

In my experience, I know that when developing goals for myself, it’s not enough to just know what I want to do; it’s also important to know some aspects to this theory of goal setting so I can make it more effective.

Goals are important. They motivate us and help us focus on what’s important, but too often they’re vague and unfocused. That’s why the SMART Theory of Goal Setting was developed by George T. Doran, the term was first proposed in the November 1981 issue of Management Review. Conventional wisdom tells us that we should set long term and short-term goals, and that we should let others know about them. The problem is, less than 2% of people achieve their goals this way. SMART is a model for setting effective and actionable goals.

The SMART theory of goal setting is a simple way to set goals for yourself. It is based on the acronym “S”MART:

The “S” stands for specific 

The first aspect of goal setting is that you should be specific. This ensures that you will know exactly what your goal is and how you are going to achieve it. Do not set something ambiguous which can be easily misconstrued. For example, “I want to become rich” is a very vague goal which can never be objective. For someone, earning $5,000 a month means they are rich, while another person may not think they are rich even they have earned a million dollars. Instead, the goal should have been more specific like, “I will earn a million dollars this year.” That’s just an example; you get the point.

The “M” stands for measurable.

You should be able to measure the success of your goals in order for it to be successful. If it is not measurable, then there may be no way for you to know if you have reached your goal or not. In the above example, you can easily measure the success of your goal, because you have revolved it around a number. Other examples are “I will shed 2 Kg this month”, “I will read 2 chapters of this book every day”, “I will add to my wardrobe by 1 new dress each fortnight” and so on.

The “A” stands for attainable 

Though it is all right to aim for the moon, you should be practical about your goals. The goal needs to be something that can actually happen or be achieved by you; otherwise, it will not be effective at motivating yourself or helping you achieve anything meaningful in life! You should stay within attainable limits. It is important that your goals should not go beyond your individual capacity too much. It is all right to challenge yourself a bit, but if you go too far, you are only going to lose your motivation and give up.

The “R” stands for realistic

If you aim for something like being the first person to live on Mars, your goal achievement won’t be too easy. And if you set something like you want to meet an alien today, it is probably not going to happen. Be realistic when you are setting goals. make sure that the goals are realistic enough so that they won’t discourage you from trying harder or getting things done faster so that they can get done sooner rather than later! Your goals  should be something that can be achieved but are just out of your reach for the moment.

And finally, the “T” stands for time-bound

Give time great importance when you are setting a goal. give yourself deadlines on when certain things need to happen by so that they don’t get pushed back any further than necessary when there are too many other things happening around us every day!

Never forget that Everything revolves around the time factor. If you achieve in a year what you needed in a month, the goal is probably not going to help you much.

If you’re trying to set a goal, use The SMART theory to make sure it’s a goal that will get you where you want to be. To use it, just follow these steps:

Make a list of things you want to achieve this year. (Start with 5-10 goals)

For each goal, ask yourself these questions: 

  1. First, ask yourself: is your goal specific enough?  Is there a clear action you’d like to take? If not, make that your goal: “I will set a new goal.” go back and make it more specific. Do you know what number or percentage of people you need to reach your goal? Can you describe your goal in a way that helps others know what they need to do to help achieve it?
  2. Next, ask yourself: Is your goal Measurable? as in Can you measure your progress? Is there a way to track this goal so that you can measure whether or not it has been achieved? Can you measure it by something concrete like money spent or distance traveled?  by looking at it from different angles — is there a way to tell whether or not you’ve accomplished it? If not, go back and make sure that there is! (For example, “get fit” isn’t measurable — how will I know when I’ve gotten fit? But “lose 5 Kg in 2 months” is measurable because I can weigh myself every day.)
  3. Then ask yourself: Is your goal Attainable? in another word Is it realistic? And if not, why not? do you have all the resources and abilities needed to reach it? If not, make that your goal: “I will make sure my goals are realistic.” Could there be something standing in the way of meeting this goal—like time constraints or resources—that prevent meeting it right now but would be possible with some adjustments later on down the road? is there any reason why you might fail? If so, revise the goal so that it’s doable! (For example, if I want to lose 5 Kg in 2 months but have never been able to lose weight before and don’t know how much weight loss has taken other people
  4. Afterwards ask yourself: Is this goal Relevant? Is there a reason why achieving this particular outcome matters more than other goals on my list right now? Do I care about this enough to put in the effort required for achieving it?
  5. Finally, ask yourself if you have enough time to reach this goal—will it fit into your schedule? If not, make that your goal: “I will make sure my goals are time-bound.” Ask yourself How soon do I want to accomplish it? This is the time frame you will use to set your goal. It can be as short as a week or as long as a year. The key here is to be realistic about how long it will take you to achieve your goal. If you don’t have enough time available, then it’s probably not worth setting the goal in the first place.

The wheels of progress don’t just magically move along. They need a constant force of energy to keep it going. Without goals, you cannot possibly succeed, sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our lives that a simple word like goals seems inconsequential. Well, they aren’t. Goals direct your efforts and put you on the path to achieving success. Sure, it is easier said than done, but if you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, then you are more likely to achieve it.

Goals are treatable as dreams, so make your dream a reality.

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