Career Development

12 Tips for Creating Smart Goals

February 22, 2021

If you're setting goals for work or your personal life, creating a smart goal can help to increase the likelihood of achieving them. This popular goal-setting technique can help to make you more productive and ensure your goals are both attainable and specific. Reviewing some tips for creating smart goals can help you create effective goals for your own purposes.

In this article, we discuss what a smart goal is and provide 12 tips for creating smart goals.

Related: Setting Goals at Work: Benefits and Tips

What is a smart goal?

A smart goal a tool for setting and achieving objectives. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Smart goals incorporate all of these criteria to ensure the goals you're pursuing are attainable.

Read more: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

Why it is important to create a smart goal?

Creating a smart goal is important because it ensures your goals are specific, realistic, measurable and time-bound. By using this goal-setting method, you increase the likelihood that you will achieve the result you want.

12 tips for creating smart goals

Here are x tips that you may want to consider when you're creating smart goals:

1. Choose goals that are important to you

The goals you set must be those that motivate you. If you have a strong interest in achieving a particular outcome, then the likelihood that you will hit those goals is much higher. Selecting goals that you are motivated to achieve is essential. You can accomplish this by setting goals that are related to the top priorities in your work or life. This can help you focus on setting fewer goals and ensure you have the time necessary to devote to each of them.

Related: How To Write SMART Goals (With Examples)

2. Be specific

The goals you set should be specific. It can be helpful to start by setting an overarching goal that you intend to pursue and then breaking that goal down into smaller, highly-specific goals that you can accomplish more quickly. As you're considering your goals, think about when they should happen, where they should happen and what you want to ultimately accomplish. By defining exactly what you want to accomplish, it's easier to create a specific plan for how you will reach those goals.

3. Ask yourself why

When you're creating goals, it's important to ask yourself why a goal is important to you. To clearly identify your why, ask yourself why that goal is important to you, why the reason matters and why it is that you feel strongly about your reason. After identifying your why, you can identity small, quickly or easily attainable goals to help you reach the larger objective you're pursuing.

4. Set goals that are measurable

The goals you set should include precise dates, amounts and other information so that you know how successful you are in achieving them. For example, if you want to increase sales, it's important to define the amount by which you want to increase sales to understand when you succeed.

5. Create goals that are attainable

It's important to set attainable goals. If your goal is both challenging and achievable, it can help boost your own confidence and motivate you to work hard to achieve even more challenging goals. These types of goals ultimately bring the greatest levels of personal satisfaction.

6. Set goals that are relevant

It's important to set goals that are relevant to the career path you want to take or the personal aspirations you have for your life. By selecting only relevant goals, you increase the likelihood of maintaining the focus you need to pursue and achieve those objectives.

7. Set a deadline

Your goals should always have a deadline. By setting a deadline, you create a greater sense of urgency and increase the likelihood of achieving your goal in a shorter amount of time. If you aren't able to achieve your goal by the deadline, you can also use the timeline for re-evaluating your strategy. For example, you may want to consider whether your goal is actually attainable and, if it is, whether there are a different set of steps you could take to achieve it.

8. Set goals you can control

To achieve your goals, it's important to set ones that you have control over. If you set goals that are dependent upon other people, you are then reliant on others to complete their parts. By ensuring you have control over all aspects of a goal, you can significantly increase the likelihood of achieving it.

9. Create goals with a positive tone

When you're setting goals, it's important to create ones that have a positive tone. In other words, when you phrase your goal, it should be focused on a positive outcome. For example, instead of making a goal to procrastinate less, set a goal of achieving certain tasks by a certain time in your day or week.

10. Create an action plan

This is one of the most important steps in the goal-setting process. It's important to carefully think through the specific actions you need to take to complete your ultimate goal. Creating an action plan is particularly important if the goal you're pursuing is long-term or especially challenging.

11. Focus on the process

As you're pursuing your smart goals, it's important to focus on the process and the progress you're making. Regardless of whether you achieve your primary objective, during the process of working towards it, your ultimate goal may shift.

12. Review and reassess your goals

As you're setting your goals, you should plan to review and reassess them at different points before reaching the deadline you set. You could plan to evaluate your process weekly, monthly or even bi-monthly. Briefly reviewing your progress and evaluating whether you are getting closer to your goal can help you identify whether you need to make changes in your action plan to better meet your goals. It can also provide a boost of confidence if you see that you're making good progress and going to achieve your goal by the deadline.

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