When it comes to setting goals, what does a SMART goal actually look like and what does each part of the SMART acronym actually mean?
So you've probably heard it before that if you’re going to set goals you should make sure they’re SMART goals.
And it’s easy to say, “is it a SMART goal?’
Well hopefully it is.But what I'm going to talk to you about today is, when you’re setting your goals, actually use this acronym to help you judge whether or not your goal is actually a SMART goal.
So let’s have a look at the five parts of SMART, the S-M-A-R-T, the first one is “S” for “specific.” It’s no good setting a goal that’s wishy-washy such as “I want to get more sales” or “I want to hire more people.” It’s about being specific with the numbers. So for example, say you want to get more sales, say it is 1% of increase you’re after, or how many dollars in additional revenue you want to get in. Be specific about it because once you’re specific, then you'll know exactly what it is that you’re targeting.
“M” is for “measurable.” It’s important that by being specific you can now measure your goals. You'll need to have KPI's which are “key performance indicators” in place, so it’s easy for you then to be able to measure your progress. It’s no good setting a goal if you've got no way of measuring it on a regular basis to make sure that you are or aren't on track. If you’re in front of where you need to be, that’s great. If you’re behind of where you need to be you can start to make adjustments to get yourself to where you need to be.
“A” is for “achievable.” Now it’s one thing to set a goal, say “I'm going to quadruple my revenue in the next three days.” Probably a little, you know, unachievable. So it’s about making sure that the goals that you set are achievable goals. Otherwise you’re going to set goals, you’re not going to achieve them, and that’s going to deter you from setting more goals in the future. So it’s really important that you look at your goals and say “is that an achievable goal based on the marketplace, based on my ability, based on what it is that I sell, based on my pricing, based on my resources to deliver? Is it achievable?” So when you think about “is it achievable,” there are a lot of different things for you to think about.
The next one is “R”, and “R” is quite commonly confused as to whether it’s “results-oriented” or is it’s “realistic.” Now I like to use both, and I'm going to give you an example in a second because it’s important for you to understand the difference between “achievable” which is the “A” and “realistic,” because a lot of people get a little bit confused about those two. But let’s talk about “results” first. Your goals need to be results-oriented. Once again, sort of ties in with “specific” and “measurable,” being results-driven means it is about an outcome. It’s about getting some sort of result from your activity. So at least then your goal has some sort of purpose. So it’s very important.
The second thing is “is it realistic?” Make sure your goal is realistic for you, for your circumstances, for your market, for all of those different factors. As I said earlier, quadrupling your turnover in the next three days is probably unrealistic.
"T" is for “time”. It’s really important that when you set a goal you set a time frame, so a deadline as to when you’re going to achieve that goal. There’s two reasons for that. Firstly, you don’t want an open ended, “oh, well I'll get it done next week, I'll get it done next week.” But the second thing is, to really be great at achieving your goals you need to set up a timeline in your plan of what you’re going to do to get there. So for example, if my time frame is 30 days, then I can start to work back and see where I need to be at 20 days, at 10 days and 5 days. Then I can start to measure my progress against my time frame. If I don't, it’s open ended and I have no end date attached to my goal, it’s very difficult to hold myself accountable and know whether I'm on track or not.
Hopefully that’s helped you understand a little bit more about setting goals and using the SMART acronym to make sure that your goals are tested, and that your goals that you set are viable.
Good luck with setting your goals!