Examples of Smart Goal Setting

Goals are vital to getting things done. Without goals, you can wander throughout the day doing little actions here and there without achieving much. Smart goals enable you to accomplish much more because they cause you to focus. They also allow you to organize your time better, as you can schedule specific blocks of time for accomplishing specific parts of your goal. Poorly developed goals can waste a lot of time and effort, as they provide no road map towards actually finishing things.

Specific Goals

In order to reach success, you must define what success is. In goal-setting, this translates into setting goals that are specific enough to perform and to let you know when you have achieved them. They should also have a target date for completion, according to Boston College’s Human Resource website 1. As an example, “To learn to dance” is a worthwhile goal, but not specific enough. A better choice would be “To enroll in and complete an eight-lesson dance class at the local studio by September 8th.” With that goal, there is a clearly-defined activity and a definite time of completion. The target is doable, not vague.

Relevant Goals

Goals must be relevant to the context you operate in and must contribute to its success, explains the University of Maine’s HR Department. A goal that involves playing video games as much as possible is not relevant when setting goals for your workplace performance, unless you work for a video game company. When setting workplace goals, examples that are relevant include “To increase my personal output of widgets by 25 percent by the end of August” or “To obtain a higher-paying position in the engineering department by the end of the year.” Those goals are relevant to the context of work.

Attainable Goals

The University of Maine further explains that goals must be attainable. This does not mean to not reach high, but skill levels, authority and resources must be taken into consideration when developing smart goals. A goal which states “To run a marathon next week” is a poor goal if you have never run a day in your life and are severely overweight. A better goal would be “To take brisk walks every day around the block for one month.” This is an attainable goal within your reach. Once this one is achieved, larger goals such as “Jog one mile a day” and “Finish a 5K race by November” can be developed and accomplished as your capabilities increase.