Do you fall in the trap of setting goals yet never managing to meet them? We’re all guilty of this especially after the rollercoaster that 2020 was, it possibly ruined your plans. With 2021 rolling in, now is the perfect time to get “SMART” and set your new year goals.
Like most people, you would have certain aspirations you wish to achieve in your lifetime. These aspirations will require you to accomplish specific tasks and activities along the way. Achieving set aspirations can be challenging and involves paving a clear path to success, however there are common pitfalls we stumble upon that can make this process difficult.
In this post, we share a simple formula for setting SMART goals that will allow you to turn aspirations into actionable objectives for a productive and successful new year.
What are SMART Goals?
Setting SMART goals or objectives essentially gives you a greater chance of seeing your goal from inception to completion. It is a simple and effective tool used by many businesses and leaders that allow you to develop an actionable plan. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
Having a specific and well-defined goal allows you to stay focused on the most important tasks. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is involved?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why do I want to achieve this?
- When do I need to achieve this?
- How can I achieve this?
By considering these questions, you have a greater chance of achieving exactly what you want. Breaking the process down into smaller tasks also allows you to address every aspect of the goal.
Having a goal without a measurable outcome is similar to a sport’s game that has no scoreboard. Measurable goals allow you to keep track of your progress and determine whether you are meeting the scheduled requirements.
In the early stages of establishing your goal, make sure to include concrete time requirements, as this assists with measuring your progress and staying focused on exactly what you want to achieve.
If you have a goal that isn’t achievable in the timeframe you have set out, then you are setting yourself up for failure. We often fail to meet our goals because we set ourselves unrealistic deadlines.
To avoid this, ask yourself if you are able to meet your objectives with the time and resources you currently have. If not, assess the constraints and determine if you need to set yourself smaller, achievable tasks or whether extra resources are required. A successful goal inspires you to push your limits, but still be attainable.
Goals are only achievable if they are relevant to you and the bigger picture you want to achieve in the long-term. To determine if your goals are relevant, ask yourself the following:
- Does this align with my values?
- Does it seem worthwhile to achieve?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this goal align with my other goals?
When working towards goals that are meaningful to you and your development, the time dedicated becomes time well spent.
A key reason why goals aren’t always achieved is because there is no concrete end date that keeps you accountable. Without an end date, you won’t know how you are progressing and whether you are on the right track.
Every goal you set out to achieve requires a completion date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and work towards. This can help prevent daily tasks from taking priority over long-term goals. It is also important to periodically check-in and review your goals, adjusting where necessary if unforeseen obstacles occur.
SMART is a well-recognised tool that not only provides you with the clarity and incentive you require to achieve your goals but also improves your capacity to achieve them by urging you to clearly define your targets and setting realistic completion dates.
So, if you want to accelerate your personal growth in 2021 and be the person who achieves their goals, start acting and setting SMART goals to kickstart your new year with confidence.