SMART Goals

When it was the last time you set some SMART Goals? How did you draw them? How did you achieve them (If you do)? I have a friend, who dreams and talks all the time about leaving his job and build the next “big thing” in consumer goods! He has the talent, he has the resources, he has the connections and the associates needed, and he has the necessary experience. But he is still dreaming about doing it! Why has he not done it, yet? Simple, because he didn’t start!

SMART Goals

When a Goal is Not A Day Dreaming

It is always wise for you to have a big dream. Dreaming is an essential part of doing the things you are interested more. But it is even wiser to know how to dream and how to make your dreams true! Most of the people though, fail to make this simple distinction: Goal vs. Dream. Is tt the same? Or have substantial differences?

When you dream, you leave your imagination free to wonder about everything and anything! You start from a small incentive in your environment (perhaps) and you end up with enough ideas to fill in every aspect of your life: business, personal time, health, fitness, career, family, friends, relationships, leisure, recreation, etc

I bet if you leave your imagination free you can come up with many ideas related to yourself, your community, your environment, your country, etc. But are all these practical?

No, actually! Most of these “ideas” are in fact just dreams! Why? Because very difficult you can transform the most of them to something tangible as a goal (*i.e. something you want and you are able to achieve).

The problem is not that you lack something! It is that you do not think something!

For instance your great goal of designing the next iPod killer device stops at your lack of experience as far as consumer goods concerns (not to mention that you do not have any industrial design skills, electronic circuits provider, a degree in electrical engineering, positioning and marketing abilities, etc.)

So, perhaps it would be wiser to focus of “dreaming” yourself healthier, slimmer, living a “smoke-free” life (if that’s the case)!

This is a better goal (or close to)!

When a Goal is S.M.A.R.T.

To have a real goal (i.e. something you can focus and chase after!) you need a set of criteria, which would tell you if the goals are achievable or not! Is not always easy to try to establish goals and decide on their implementation! Furthermore is not fun to set goals, just for the pleasure to see yourself failing at trying to achieve them.

This process is not really a self-esteem booster, you know (and surely should be avoided)! So what you can do! Think! There are a lot of things that can do in order to make a good goal FOR YOU! But, certainly, there is no a “One-Size-Fits-All Formula“. One such approach is the SMART Criteria.

What’s that? Well, SMART is:

“a mnemonic acronym, giving criteria to guide in the setting of objectives, for example in project management, employee-performance management and personal development. The letters S and M usually mean specific and measurable.

According to this approach a goal, in order to fit in, in the achievable goals definition should be:

  • Specific – you should have defined (and articulated) clearly what you want to achieve with your action.
  • Measurable – you should have set some kind of metrics (i.e. by the end of February I would have lost 5 pounds) in order for you to know how you progress towards the achievement of your goal. Metrics is indicators, helps us to check our path towards our objectives!
  • Assignable – You should know you would be the owner of the action. If you are not able yourself to perform the task, who is the one who going to do it?
  • Realistic – you should be serious when you set your goals. Really! You could not set a goal of the type “I will make the best audio device the world have seen” when you do not have any experience in the consumer goods market! The (R) letter can as well be translated and as RELEVANCE! You goals should have an even remote relation to your objectives?
  • Time-related – the most important part of the equation.When you set up a goal, you should always set a timestamp as far as the when concerns (please, pardon my IT bias vocabulary!). A goal should always have a “when” clause, or, in other words, when you set a goal you should be always sure when you want to achieve it (in any case you do not want to leave the implementation of a goal to lurking your to-do list for a year or two? Or do you? ) or (if you do not have achieved it by a set time frame,) to abandon it!

Do you agree or not? Please comment!

Question: So what you do with your goals? Are they SMART, or not? Do you think SMART Goals is a valid framework you can use in your everyday life?

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    Takis Athanassiou is an IT Consultant, Blogger, Trainer & Writer, active in the areas of leadership, business consulting, e-Learning and social media. He aims at the development of people, business and assets! You can check out his blog, add him in Google+ and follow him on Twitter.

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    • Rita Jaskolla

      I just had a discussion with my mastermind group today about setting our goals for 2015. We all “tick” differently. It´s essential for individuals to figure out what gets you going and then treat yourself this way. As an example, I need to set up the next step as a goal instead of writing down the final goal, when I want to reach something new. Others maybe set quarterly goals, achievable ones to not get frustrated if it didn´t work out. it´s hard to implement goal-setting made for running companies 1:1 for individuals or entrepreneurs. It doesn´t always work out (right away).

      • You have absolute right, Rita. The point for me is to find the best way for YOU to do what’s needs to get done! The methods, approaches and the ways we implement certain things varies but the point in setting SMART goals is to have a constant approach, a method and a way customized to yourself for doing things (either in corporate or small business, or solopreneur environment)!

        I believe though, than in the long run SMART goals can support you (and direct you) to more “quality” outputs!

        • Rita Jaskolla

          Yes, therefore SMART Goal Setting serves as a headline, and it could/should offer a couple of different methods as well. People will love it!

    • Takis: Have you read the works by pioneer in the goal-setting field, Dr. Edwin A. Locke?

      • No Martin, I don’t. But I check on him. Thank you for the suggestion!

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