Do you ever feel like you are working hard but not getting anywhere, or rushing around trying to get more done while actually accomplishing very little? You may be someone who has set a goal and it took longer to complete than you thought it would, and you became discouraged and gave up. Sound familiar? Me to.
When you are exploring possible goals, unleash your imagination, ambitions and start to dream big. Have an attitude like Nelson Mandela did: “Think big, work hard, and never give up no matter how hard it gets.”
Ask yourself: “What would I have to do?” “Who would I have to become to make it happen”? The fun part about setting goals is that you get the opportunity to transform yourself!
SMART is an acronym that you can use to guide your goal setting and stands for:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
- Achievable (agreed, attainable)
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
- Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, timely, time-sensitive)
Let’s explore this further...
Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise, you won't be able to focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve it. When drafting your goal, try to answer the five "W" questions:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
Imagine that you are currently an administrative assistant, and you'd like to become a team leader. A specific goal could be, "I want to gain the skills and experience necessary to become a team leader within my organisation, so that I can build my career and lead a successful team."
It's important to have measurable goals so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal.
A measurable goal should address questions such as:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
You might measure your goal of acquiring the skills to become a team leader by determining that you will have completed the necessary training courses and gained the relevant experience within 1 year.
Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.
An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is the goal?
You might need to ask yourself whether developing the skills required to become a team leader is realistic, based on your existing experience and qualifications. Is support available to you? Can you afford to do it?
This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you and that it also aligns with other relevant goals.
A relevant goal can answer "yes" to these questions:
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
You might want to gain the skills to become a team leader within your organisation, but is it the right time to undertake the required training, or work toward additional qualifications?
Every goal needs a target date so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward.
A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:
- What can I do three months from now?
- What can I do three weeks from now?
Gaining the skills to become a team leader may require additional training or experience, as a leady mentioned. How long will it take you to acquire these skills? It's important to give yourself a realistic time frame for accomplishing the smaller goals that are necessary to achieving your final objective.
SMART is a well-established tool that you can use to plan and achieve your goals. It is effective and provides the clarity, focus and motivation you need to achieve your goals. It can also improve your ability to reach them by encouraging you to define your objectives and set a completion date.
SMART goals are easy to structure by anyone, anywhere, anytime so start including them in your everyday life!
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