At some point in their lives, the vast majority of people have felt that they’re working hard but not seeing much in terms of results for their efforts. Some people reflect on their achievements over the past five years or so and feel that they should be further along. Others struggle to envision how they will fulfill their dreams in the next few years.
If you want a strong start to the next year, you should be setting SMART goals. Here is some information about SMART goals and how they can help you get your career, business or personal life on track.
What are SMART goals?
A SMART goal refers to any goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. The purpose of the SMART acronym is to help individuals set goals that are both clear and reachable. No matter how lofty or trivial your objective is, the SMART approach to goal-setting will set you up for success.
How to set SMART goals
Fortunately, setting a SMART goal is a process that is neither difficult nor time-consuming. Simply consider these guidelines and you’ll have a set of SMART goals for the upcoming year.
1. Are your goals SPECIFIC?
A good goal needs to be specific and clear so that you’ll know exactly when you’ve accomplished the objective. For example, “running a successful business” is a common goal that many people have. This goal is too general because there are many ways in which a business can be defined as successful. For example, in the eyes of one individual, a business is successful if it produces a lot of revenue. According to someone else, a business is flourishing if it has a high rating from the Better Business Bureau.
2. Are your goals MEASURABLE?
Not only should your goals be specific, but they should also be measurable. Otherwise, you’ll have a difficult time tracking your progress and determining when you’ve accomplished your goal. In most cases, adding a number of some sort will make a goal measurable. For example, instead of saying that you want your business to produce a lot of revenue, you could say that you want your business to generate $1 million of revenue.
3. Are your goals ATTAINABLE?
Many people make the mistake of setting goals that are not realistic. These people are often setting themselves up for failure. After all, if your business only made $10,000 of revenue one year, it’s not realistic to expect that your business will make $1 million of revenue the next. Depending on the nature of your business, $25,000 or $50,000 may be a more realistic figure.
Before you choose a number to make your goal measurable, you should figure out how high or low you should go. Goals that are too easy or too hard typically have a negative impact on motivation.
4. Are your goals RELEVANT?
Make sure that you’re setting goals that are important to you and your own needs. Don’t make the mistake of setting a goal due to outside pressures. If you’re happy with $10,000 in revenue from your small business, you shouldn’t feel as if you need to earn more money next year. You will struggle to maintain the motivation to meet your goals if they aren’t relevant.
5. Are your goals TIME-BOUND?
Finally, your goals should be time-bound. For example, you may want your business to generate $25,000 of revenue within six months and $50,000 of revenue by the end of the year. Knowing that you have a deadline will motivate you to get started. Without a concrete endpoint, you’ll continue putting off working toward your goal.
SMART goals are an effective way to get your personal and professional life on track this upcoming year. The National Association of Professional Women can help you accomplish your business dreams and career goals. Join the largest network of professional women for support, motivation and inspiration!