Setting smarter goals is a vital skill that we need to realize our plans and ideas. Without knowing the art of effective goal setting, we can not hope to achieve what we truly desire. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and every successful person has some clearly outlined goals that provide him the stepping stones to greatness.
Often times we are ambitious and highly motivated about our dreams. But even after trying, we fail to succeed. How could this be even after giving our best?
I believe this happens when we try to do stuff randomly and don’t know what’s important for us. We run around in loops and have vague targets floating around in our heads. We also might not be fully prepared to deal with the challenges that come our way.
This is where SMART goals come to save us. And finally, show us an objective way to quantify our progress. The SMARTER-goal-setting method provides us with a foundation to reach our personal and professional goals. And helps us navigate our actions when life gets hard.
So without further ado, let’s see how these SMARTER goals can help you out with your struggle. Read on and discover how this goal-setting method came into being and how it can transform your life.
Origin of S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals:
There are many methods and theories regarding goal-setting. But the SMARTER goal framework is one of the most practical ones of them all.
SMARTER goals were first explained by George T. Doran in an original article he published in 1981. Even though these SMART(ER) goals were targeted toward business development, this goal-setting methodology has also proven wonders in achieving personal success.
In his research, he coined the acronym SMART, abbreviated as specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related. But now, a better version of this mnemonic is in vogue, and two additional terms have been added on.
So now S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals stand for:
- Time Bound
Importance of SMARTER Goal-Setting:
Setting and defining our goals is essential for our continuous self-improvement. But sadly, many people don’t know what they are missing out on and are unaware of the benefits of goal setting.
Sitting and planning your goals isn’t as dull and boring as it sounds. It has numerous benefits that build momentum in your life. Having goals lined up in front of you motivates you to get up every day and work towards something meaningful. This aspect alone gives you a purpose for living and promotes self-consciousness.
Countless people set goals for themselves. Mostly they set these goals right around the start of the New year. They make numerous ambitious new year resolutions, but most of them fail to stick by.
Even research shows that of the 41% of U.S. citizens who plan resolutions for the new year, only 9% can act on them successfully.
A notable professor of psychology, Bas Verplanken, was right on point when he said:
“Changing from December 31st to January 1st is not a dramatic discontinuity. Many resolutions are made on December 31st, and go down the drain on January 2nd.”Bas Verplanken
The reason why people fail to achieve their goals:
So what causes people to fail hard in their objectives? Even the well-planned and well-thought-out ones they made with full zeal?
The answer to this problem is quite simple. The most obvious reason is that people don’t use the SMARTER goals methodology.
They end up making unrealistic goals that don’t have a clear path to follow. Apart from that, they end up making too many of them. And are then unable to sustain and focus on even a single goal they decided to achieve.
So how do we stick to and take our goals to completion? Easy! By reading the following simple steps!
7 Important Steps to Set SMARTER Goals
The 7 letters in the acronym SMARTER stand for Specific, Measurable, and Achievable.
Time Bound, Evaluated, and Revised. Now let us look at what each of these 7 words means in goal-setting.
1. “S” for Being Specific
When it comes to setting smarter goals, it’s important to be specific. Having vague goals and targets puts you in a fix and confusion. To achieve your target, you must be clear and specific about what you want.
When you have aims without specifics, you don’t have a concrete pathway to realize them. Psychologically your brain becomes complacent, and you think just having this vague goal will get you somewhere when actually that’s not the case.
By being specific about what you want to achieve, you are more likely to stick with your goals and see lasting results. Additionally, specific goals help track your progress and celebrate your successes.
Example of Making Your Goals More Specific:
Specific goals are tailored to your needs. Rather than setting an obscure goal like “losing weight or getting in shape, commit to a specific one. The better approach would be to set a goal like losing “X lbs” weight.
Other examples of such a smarter goal might be “to wake up sharp 6:30 in the morning everyday” or “to walk for 30 minutes three times a week.”
So if you want to make a positive change in your life, remember to set smarter and specific goals. Write them down on paper and be clear about the targets you want to achieve. They can be as detailed and pinpointed as you want them to be.
2. “M” for Being Measurable
It’s very important that your goals are measurable. It’s because measurable and quantifiable goals allow you to track your progress and stay motivated long-term.
This ensures that your target is clear and achievable. When you can break your goal into mini-milestones, you can be more confident of your ability to succeed in achieving it.
Example of making your goals measurable?
Measuring progress can be done in several ways, such as by keeping a daily or weekly journal. If losing weight is your goal, you can make it measurable by recording your weekly weight.
Similarly, if you want to notice your gains in the gym, try taking daily or weekly photos to notice changes in your physique.
If you can’t measure something, you can not improve it. So by making your goals quantifiable, you have more chances to get things into action.
3. “A” for Attainable
The third and most important step in defining SMARTER goals is to make them attainable. By being attainable, we mean goals that are actually achievable.
Most people fail in this step of goal-setting. You may make unrealistic goals that might help you push yourself out of your comfort zone. But you can only do so when you are fully ready to face immense challenges.
But many times, people end up making targets that are beyond achievable. If your goal is beyond ambitious, you set yourself up for disappointment. This eventually leads to failure, depression, and in the end, demotivation to act on your goals.
Example of Setting Attainable Goals
Hashing out attainable targets is not as difficult as it sounds. You simply have to divide your ambitions into short and long-term objectives. Setting smarter goals that you can actually achieve will prompt you into action and help build momentum for the big picture.
For example, if you want to fix your morning routine, you would first fix your bedtime. Then you will make waking up early in the morning attainable as you won’t sacrifice your needed hours of rest.
Similarly, if you own a business and sell almost 50 items per month, then it would be unreasonable to set a goal of selling 300 items the next month. To make the goal attainable, you should set a sweet spot of increasing your sales to 100 or 150 items.
This way, the goals are not too far-fetched and make you actionable enough to attain them.
4. “R” for Relevant
The next aspect of making your SMARTER goals is to make them highly relevant to your situation. Relevant goals are the ones that will help you achieve the outcomes you desire in your life.
This facet of goal-setting is all about aligning your targets with your core values. When goals are connected to your purpose, you make them relevant in your life.
When your goals contradict your values, you don’t seem to find the inner drive to work toward them. Instead, you just while away and waste your time and put zero effort into making your dreams come true.
Example of Setting Relevant Goals:
Let’s take the example of setting a relevant smarter goal.
Suppose you have a business and want to increase its revenue. Ideally, you would need to focus on setting goals that increase your revenue directly. For that, you would plan to increase your budget for marketing and improve your supply chain,
But instead, you make targets to upgrade your equipment and increase the overall look of your offices. No doubt that will aid in streamlining the business, but it wouldn’t be relevant to the purpose of increasing the revenue.
Similarly, career goals need to be relevant as well. If you like a particular field and love working in it, then you should set goals to develop your skills in that relevant field.
Instead of being swayed by what people are doing, you should set goals for your own satisfaction.
5. “T” for Time-Bound
SMARTER goals have definite starting and finishing times. They aren’t vague without a definite timeline. If they are, it will take an eternity to achieve them.
So, for this reason, it is important that your goals should be arranged in a time frame. When your goals are time bound, they become quantifiable and allow you to track your progress daily.
When there is no urgency or priority to achieve a goal, you will continue to defer things indefinitely. It can be easy to get sidetracked or discouraged when you don’t have a clear endpoint in mind.
But having a deadline will help you stay focused on what you need to do. Planning a timeline to work with helps to keep you motivated and on track.
Example of Setting Time-Bound Goals:
For example, you plan to gain 20 lbs of muscle after joining the gym. To make this SMARTER goal, you must set a deadline to achieve this goal.
How long or short you set the timeline will determine your action plan. If you want to achieve this goal in a shorter time, you will make a goal like gaining 20 lbs of muscle in 6 months. Your whole strategy would be different if you wanted the same results in a year.
So time-based goals help to ensure that you’re making progress. If you can measure your progress against a timeline, you’ll see how far you’ve come and how much closer you are to your goal.
6. “E” for Evaluated
There is a reason why evaluation is added to the list of SMART goals. Many people set goals, but not everyone knows how to evaluate them.
Not all goals will suit the place you would currently be in, or the goal might not resonate with the phase of life you’re in currently.
Maybe your health condition isn’t as good as before, and your goals are physically challenging. Or maybe your priorities have changed, and you don’t feel the commitment to your previously set goals.
So to assess your goals, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.
- First of all, evaluate how your goals are progressing. Are they being completed on time, or are they lagging behind? If they are not turning out as planned, then your evaluation has helped you identify the problem.
- Secondly, evaluate your level of commitment to the goal. If you’re not fully committed, you may not end up successful. This happens when you have decided on your long-term goals but fail to re-evaluate your stand on them.
Example of Evaluating Your Goals
To thoroughly evaluate your smarter goals, you need to make a system. If you have targets that would need a year to complete, it’s necessary for you to evaluate them periodically, like after a month,
Let’s take the previous example of gaining 20 lbs of muscle in 6 months in the gym. To achieve this, you would need to evaluate your weekly progress and see what’s working for you.
If you are on the lower side of your goal, you will evaluate what things need to be modified to improve your results. It can be either your diet or your intensity at the gym.
Then you will readjust your diet or ramp up your game accordingly. However, if you are going well, you will keep doing what is already working for you. So, evaluation keeps your goals on the right track.
7. “R” for Readjustment
The last step of making your goals SMARTER is by readjusting your approach.
We all set out with certain objectives in mind. Whether it’s a long-term goal or something we hope to achieve in the short term. But sometimes, life doesn’t go according to plan.
We might hit a roadblock that prevents us from reaching our goal. Or we might have a change of mind about what we want. When this happens, it can be tough to know what to do next.
Should you abandon your original goal and start fresh? Or is there a way to readjust your goal to be achievable?
Any goal worth achieving will take some effort, and there will be setbacks. When you find yourself hitting a wall, it’s time to take a step back and readjust. The important thing is not to get discouraged when things don’t go according to plan.
Instead, fine-tune your goals and keep moving forward. By continuous evaluation and readjustment, you can get the traction you are looking for.
Example of Readjusting your Goals
Readjustment isn’t rocket science. We naturally do it whenever we get into a problem. However, it’s essential we readjust continuously in our goals too.
Whether it’s losing weight, scaling your business or getting your routine in order, evaluation and readjustment apply everywhere.
Final Words on Setting SMARTER Goals:
If you follow these 7 steps for SMARTER goal-setting, I am 100% sure that you will see remarkable success in your personal and professional life.
Reading all this information will make you understand why the SMARTER methodology is useful.
You are putting yourself on the right track by making your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. And if by any means you face hindrance, evaluating and readjusting your targets will give you an easy path to achieving them.