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How to write SMART goals? [With Examples]

Setting goals and living up to them is always a tricky task. But have you ever wondered if the problem is with “goal-setting” or “living up to them”? Well, if you ponder it, you’ll realise that we end up making unrealistic, abstract, and even troubling goals for ourselves more often than not. So, the idea should be to take a step back and work on your goal-setting strategy. 

To begin with, it would be good to explore the SMART goal-setting strategy to create actual SMART goals. In this context, SMART goals are an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely goals. Knowing how to write SMART goals will help you stay on track and ensure that you can reach the goals you have set for yourself.

What are SMART goals?

SMART goals are a way to set goals for yourself that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Using this method of goal setting is essential to ensure that you can reach your goals on time without exerting yourself too much or constantly feeling like you’ve not done enough towards your goal. SMART goals are action-oriented, meaning they have a clear purpose, and you know what steps to take to reach them. With such an approach, it also becomes easier to stay on track and have a bird’s eye view of your goals and how you are doing with respect to them.

Candidates opting for leadership and management courses reap the benefits of learning SMART goals, enabling them to design and work towards maximum efficiency with the right SMART goal structure. Let’s look at what benefits this goal-setting group of parameters has towards attaining targets. 

Benefits of SMART goals

Let’s explore some significant benefits of setting SMART goals. 

  • SMART goals are action-oriented and help you to stay on track. 
  • By setting SMART goals, you have clear, measurable goals you can work towards. This makes it easier to stay focused and motivated to reach your goals timely.
  • SMART goals help to keep you organised. When you have specific goals, it is easier to plan the steps you need to take to reach them. This helps prevent procrastination and ensures that you can stay on track.
  • SMART goals can motivate you. When you have clear goals and a plan for achieving them, it can be easier to stay motivated and keep going even when it gets tough.

Components of SMART goals

Now that you know the benefits of SMART goals let’s expand on the components of SMART goals and understand what they entail.

  • Specific: Whatever goal you set, it should not in any way be ambiguous. Your aim should be to set goals that are clearly defined and specific in nature. So, it might be a good idea to break large goals into smaller, clear goals and start by tackling them. 
  • Measurable: To know how far you’ve come, your goals should be stated measurably. In the absence of this, you’d be lost and confused about your progress towards the said goal. 
  • Achievable: The goal should be realistic and achievable. This means that the goal should be something that you have the resources and skills to accomplish.
  • Relevant: Your goal should be relevant to the big picture happenings in your life or at the workplace (or in academics, whatever the context of your objective). Without relevance, it is easier to get sidelined and not feel motivated to work towards the goal. 
  • Timely: The goal should have a well-defined timeline. You should have a specific timeframe within which you wish to achieve your set objective. 

These components are important to consider when setting a goal because it helps to ensure that you are setting realistic and achievable objectives.

SMART goals Examples

Let’s look at some SMART goals examples so that you can get a better understanding of how to use this goal-setting framework.

  • Specific: I want to increase my website traffic by 25% in the next three months.
  • Measurable: I will track my website traffic using Google Analytics.
  • Achievable: I will use SEO, content marketing, and social media to increase my website traffic.
  • Relevant: Increasing my website traffic will help me to reach my overall goal of increasing my online presence.
  • Timely: I will reach my goal within three months.

These are just a few SMART goals examples that industry experts implement to optimise their workflow across all domains.

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Step-by-step guide for writing SMART goals

Now that you have a better understanding of the components of SMART goals let’s look at a step-by-step guide for writing SMART goals.

  • Analyse your goals- Before you can set a SMART goal, you must have a clear goal and purpose.
  • Break down goals into achievable steps- Breaking objectives down into consumable forms enables you to tackle them without burdening yourself with work. 
  • Identify your goals- By identifying specific sub-goals from overall larger goals, you will break down a more significant problem into minor, easily solvable problems while keeping your goals clear and easy to understand. These goals should be relevant to your overall context and achievable, given the skills, resources, and time you have at hand. 
  • Measure your goals- Keep an eye out for how you’re performing daily concerning the goal that you have set. Ideally, your framing of the goals should include how you measure your progress towards the goal. 

SMART goal-setting tips

Now that you better understand how to write SMART goals let’s look at some tips to help you stay on track.

  • Set practical goals: Working on practical and realistic goals is easier, more focused and helps you build stronger self-confidence. 
  • Compartmentalise into a consumable form: Dissecting goals into a consumable form eliminates the pressure to accomplish it all at once, delivering lower inconsistencies and better results.  
  • Track your progress: Tracking your progress helps you assess your productivity to enhance it in the long run. 
  • Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself when you reach a goal can help to keep you motivated and on track, further motivating you to take up challenging tasks.

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Common SMART goals mistakes

If you’re just starting to explore the SMART goal-setting approach, here are some things that you must steer clear of to keep your goals truly SMART: 

  • Setting too many goals
  • Not setting a timeline
  • Not being specific enough or being completely vague
  • Not tracking your progress 
  • Setting unrealistic goals

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can make sure that you are setting realistic and achievable SMART objectives.

How to track and measure SMART goals

Once you have set your SMART goals, tracking and measuring your progress is important. This will help ensure that you can stay on track and reach your goals on time. There are several ways that you can track and measure your SMART objectives.

  • Create a timeline: Plan your steps towards achieving whatever goal you set for yourself and create a rough timeline for the actions you need to take to achieve the goal. 
  • Set milestones: Apart from measuring day-to-day progress by creating a timeline, you can also set milestones after a significant chunk of work towards your goal. That way, you will also have a big-picture view of where you are, depending on your final destination. 
  • Set reminders: Setting reminders for yourself will help to ensure that you can stay on track and not drift off into all kinds of noise around us. Honest, timely reminders work wonders to bring you back on track and help you focus on your work (goal). 

Conclusion

In conclusion, setting SMART goals is a great way to stay on track and ensure that you are able to reach your goals on time. Knowing how to write SMART objectives will help to ensure that you can set realistic and achievable goals. It is vital to use the components of SMART goals, such as being specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

When you’ve understood and got a hold of writing your goals in the SMART framework, you’ll realise that you’re performing better at your day-to-day job because you have the utmost clarity. This clarity will be convenient if you seek a career in business administration. At upGrad, we understand the importance of proper goal setting and tracking and inculcate that using our courses as well. 

One such course is the Master of Business Administration offered in collaboration with Golden Gate University. This 15-months course provides you with an immersive learning atmosphere. 

Check out the course and get yourself enrolled soon!

What does SMART stand for?

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. This acronym comprises all the steps required for a SMART goal-setting agenda to reach your long-term goals. From working on a project as an organisation or trying to create a timetable to cover your academic course, SMART objectives can significantly help you achieve your goals.

What will happen if the goals are not measurable?

If the set goals are not measurable, you will have no benchmark of knowing where you are today compared to yesterday and where you need to be tomorrow. To avoid that, keeping your goals measurable is of utmost importance.

Can the SMART goal-setting method be used while writing a CV too?

Definitely! Formulating your goals and tasks in the SMART format will give factual information to the reader without any fluff, so it’s highly recommended.

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