Setting SMART Goals to Create Big Change
They say that history is made by the courageous people who are willing to seize the opportunity to change things. Change, though, is rarely easy. Just wanting to make something happen doesn’t mean it will. You need a plan. S.M.A.R.T. goals to the rescue.
But don’t think that having a plan confines you. Go big with your goal – or go home. That’s how change – no – that’s how innovation happens.
What are S.M.A.R.T. goals? It is a way of organizing and planning your goals so that they can get accomplished. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
We will break down the steps one by one and examine them so that you can better plan and meet the goals you have for yourself.
Let’s start by asking this key question – What is it you want? I mean, really want. What do you want passionately, more than anything else in your life?
Is that a hard question for you to answer? For some, it can be. If it is, then turn the question on it’s head. What do you not want for your life? Asking this question and answering it honestly, can help lead you to what it is you actually want. Don’t focus on the negative though, once you know what you don’t want, reframe it in terms of what you do want.
At this phase of goal setting, you’re not worried about how practical it is. You should just focus on seeing what you want and being specific about what you want. Practicality and realism will come later in the process.
Being successful in reaching your goals isn’t about setting any goal, it’s about setting the right goal for the right reasons.
After you have written down what it is you want and have been specific about it; you will need to think about how you are going to measure the progress of your goal. The way you measure a goal will depend on the goal and what you view success in connection to that goal looks like.
Measurability proves how verifiable your goal is. It gives you a path to start down to complete your goal.
What is a reasonable ruler of measurement for your goal? How will you know when you have successfully reached your goal?
This is the step that the game plan starts to take shape. Assessing the attainability of a goal helps you carve out the path you will take to reach your goal. It is not about crushing your aspirations, or causing you to doubt the reachability of your goal.
Some aspects of your goal may be easily within your reach, while others may not. Something to consider is whether the easily reached aspects are too easy, providing no challenge; and whether anything more difficult is too difficult, causing you to give up. Make adjustments to your goal to find that sweet spot in the middle where you are challenged enough to grow. (Don’t throw out your loftier aspirations, those will make good goals to reach after you’ve achieved your stepping stone goals.)
Look at your overall goal, ask yourself, “Can this be broken down into smaller steps? What are they?”
While you shouldn’t let yourself be discouraged from dreaming big and trying new things, it is important to be realistic with your goals. How so? No goal can be reached if you aren’t willing to work for it. So, while you may want something, it is important to be honest with yourself about how hard you are willing to work for what you want.
If you’re willing to put in hard work, you can achieve any goal you set for yourself. Just keep in mind that there may be some baby steps you need to take with smaller achievements before you reach your ultimate goal. Ask yourself, “Does my goal require daily, repeated tasks; or a list of finite tasks that I can create a checklist from? What habits can I start today that will lead me to success later?”
You will also need to be realistic when you consider the next step.
You need to determine how much time each day you can a lot to working toward your goal. Do a time audit of yourself. Write down what you think your schedule is, then keep a journal of what you actually do in a day and record the time for that activity. Do this for several days or even a few weeks. Did your perception match your reality? Where can you make adjustments? How long can you spend working toward your goal each day? When will you do so?
SMART Goals Deliver Change
Creating an action plan for your goals using the SMART method will help you be the change you want to see in the world. Coupling those goals with an education from Concordia University can make you a leader in innovation.