“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
Did you know that people with goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals?
Fascinating... (And also, a tad bit confusing)
Because who doesn't have goals in life?
But if everyone sets goals, then why only a few achieve their goals and become successful?
The answer is simple.
Setting goals alone is not enough. The quality of goals and the effort you put in are what make the real difference.
In more plain terms:SET SMART GOALS.
This guide will tell you what a SMART goal is and how it can help you transform your lifestyle to become more successful.
Let's dig right in!
Why Are Goals Important?
"What are your goals in life?"
I'm sure you have been asked this at least once in life. Whenever this question pops up, it puts us all in an awkward situation. We end up going on a guilt trip.
We are reminded of all the goals we should have set and the ones we should have achieved by now.
But have you ever wondered:
Why is setting goals so important?
Why do we all have this inherent tendency to plan and think ahead?
You may wonder why is it even important to begin with an end in mind?
Well, we are all born with a natural predisposition to want more. Moreover, we all encounter critical crossroads at every stage of our lives and never know what the future holds.
So, if you go on without pre-determined goals, you can easily stumble on the wrong side of the cliff and mess up your entire future.
This is where setting goals can help you. Planning and setting future milestones set our priorities and help us stay organized.
How To Set Goals?
How many times do we plan out our goals when we are in the 'nothing can stop me now' mood, excited and thrilled to go ahead and fulfill our desires – well, only to find out later that we can't find the strength or motivation to follow through?
If you feel like you are in the same situation, don't worry. We are here to help you out.
People have tried to study and experiment with different ways to find a safe and secure way out of this.
While experts proposed many strategies, only one has stuck out to be the most effective, trusted, and reliable: setting SMART goals.
Wait, it's not just the word 'smart'.... it is actually an acronym.
Hold on, allow us to explain.
What Is A S.M.A.R.T Goal?
SMART is a popular acronym used as a guide to set goals effectively.
Here’s what each letter represents and how to use them to personalize your targets by using a SMART goals template.
What does SMART stand for?
Specify your goal and dwell deep into the details.
To make a goal-specific ask these questions:
Questions For Specific Goal
What objective needs to be accomplished?
What challenges will you face?
Who is responsible for it?
What steps will you take to achieve it?
How long will it take?
Thinking through such aspects helps you create a realistic goal. It helps you understand what exactly you are aiming for and what challenges to expect.
For example: 'I want to be fit' is very vague and generic. Instead, aim for a specific goal and determine how exactly you want to be more fit. You could take up physical exercise, try meditation, eat clean, etc.
A goal has to be measurable because you have to quantify your goals and track the progress.
So, make your goal more impactful by incorporating trackable and measurable benchmarks.
What Is A Measurable Goal?
|2||Should be trackable|
|3||Can be quantified|
|4||Tangible evidence should be presented|
|5||Has different stages|
For example, if you want to lose weight. Determine how many pounds you want to drop per week, how many calories you should eat, how many inches you lose each week, etc.
Use tools like PDFelement pro to track and measure your goals in an organized way.
In the template section of PDFelement pro, you will find a Daily Goals planner. Click on any of these templates to open them.
Once the file is opened you can note down all of the things that you need to accomplish.
A smart goal is always achievable (or attainable) – meaning it should be realistic and within reach.
You have to analyze if you are willing to take up the challenges. Then only you can create a smart action plan to face those challenges and achieve your goals.
How To Achieve Goals?
|1||Prioritizing the important tasks|
|2||Having a growth mindset|
|3||Developing the right skillset|
|4||Not giving up|
|5||Rewarding yourself after reaching every milestone|
No one sets a goal just for fun. The real purpose of a goal is to achieve something. So, goals have to be relevant and rewarding.
This is where you realize why your goal matters to you and what advantage it will bring to your life. Once you identify the benefit, you will have a greater motivation towards achieving your goal.
What Makes A Goal Relevant?
|1||It inspires you|
|2||It offers a real benefit|
|3||Brings you closer to your dreams|
|4||Improves the quality of your life|
|5||helps you become more successful|
“A goal without a timeline is just a dream.”
The last and final component of a SMART goal is time-bound (also associated with timely or time-based).
Any goal without a timeline is simply an intention because goals don't just stretch into infinity. Goals have to have a deadline as they increase the chances of your achieving the goals.
4 Cs of Setting SMART Goals
Here are the principles of creating and setting up SMART goals:
When you don’t know what you’re reaching for, you will be lost. Thus, not having a clear goal makes you lose valuable years of life. So, make sure there is no ambiguity when you are setting objectives.You must know what you want, why you want it and how you are going to get it.
Goals have to be challenging and you have to be willing to put up with those challenges in order to achieve the goal.
Commitment and goal achievement go hand in hand. And, lack of commitment will derail your progress.This is why self discipline is a common trait of high achievers as it keeps them committed to their goal.
According to Brian Tracey (Speaker, Author and Success Coach), the single best quality for success is self discipline. It is a habit, a practice, a philosophy and a way of living.
The objectives and challenges related to your goal should be complex enough. If they are too complex, they can be demotivating, but they will not stimulate your intellectual capabilities if they are too simple. So, you have to make sure you find a smart target with the right balance.
How To Make a SMART Goal?
So, now we come to the million-dollar question i.e.:
How to set a SMART goal?
Wow… you really haven’t been paying attention, have you? Because the answer is right there!
Making A SMART Goal
|1||Write down goals in specific wording|
|2||Include measurable goals|
|3||Aim for realistically attainable goals|
|4||Pick relevant goals that relate to you|
|5||Make goals time-bound by setting a deadline or a timeline|
SMART Goals Examples
Here is an examples of how to set professional SMART Goals:
I want to learn a new skill.
This is a typical approach to setting goals but both these goals are very vague. These goals lack the attributes of a SMART goal.
Now, let’s use the SMART goals formula to create new improved and more effective goals:
Goal: I Want To Learn A New Skill
|Specific||Specify which skill you want to learn.|
|Measurable||Now create an actionable plan and divide it into different trackable stages. For example, create a plan to learn 2 features of the software everyday for a week.|
|Achievable||Learning intuitive software is achievable.|
|Relevant||Learning how to use a document management platform is highly relevant and rewarding in today’s workplace environment. It will give you a competitive edge over your coworkers.|
|Timely||In order to learn the software, give yourself a specific deadline such as 1 month. Within a month, you should be proficient.|
The way you act and lead your life depends upon your mindset and what you want to pursue in life.
Thus, your goals determine the kind of person you will become: how you act, what you are willing to do and what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve those goals.
So, if you want to lead a successful life, set quality goals. These are SMART goals; Goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.