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Mastering Your Own Success: SMART Goals and How to Use Them

Goals create the trajectory of our own success, by creating effective goal planning skills it allows you to take control of your choices and achievements. Goals affect every decision we make, in high school it’s the decision of college, in college, it’s the decision of what job will you get, after college its timing of marriage, or career movements. The thing that no one truly explains is how to create those goals, how to obtain those goals, or how to make those goals manageable, but that ends now. Today we are talking about SMART goals, and no, there are no such things as dumb goals, but SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals to better help you achieve setting clear goals both personally and professionally. 

What are SMART Goals 

  • By making a goal Specific it narrows down the focus to one or two specific aspects of your goal. 

  • The next aspect is Measurable which allows you to be able to measure your goals and progress. By having a measurable goal it not only keeps you, as the individual, accountable, but also increases your chances of success. 

  • When thinking about creating SMART Goals, the next step would be to make sure your goal is Achievable. You want to create goals that are achievable in a smaller time frame, allowing you to achieve goals and progress at a regular rate, which leads to a feeling of fulfillment. 

  • An important factor about these SMART goals is that they are Relevant not only to your short-term objectives, but to your long-term values and objectives as well. By keeping these goals relevant, it allows you to make smaller, more determined strides towards your long term personal or professional growth. 

  • The last aspect of SMART goals is Time-based. This means that you should create an ambitious yet realistic end date of when this goal should be achieved to keep you motivated and focused.

Goal keeper blocking a goal

How do we create SMART Goals? 

Now that you understand what a SMART Goal is, let’s talk about how to begin to create a SMART goal. We are going to use the overarching goal of finding a new job, this goal is representative of a vague goal. To make the goal more specific the first question asked should be: What needs to be accomplished? Well, what needs to be accomplished is to gain an interview with a new job. Next you should ask yourself, What steps need to be taken in order to gain that interview? Answers may vary, but could include reformatting and updating your resume, or searching for available jobs, and putting in job applications. Since the specific aspects of your goal are squared away, we move on to the measurable aspects. Quantifying our goals allows us to keep track of our progress, in this case towards obtaining a new job. One question you may ask at this stage is, How many job applications should I do a week? Decisions could be as little as 1 – 5 applications a week or as many as needed, depending on how severely employment is needed at this time. This allows you to be able to stay focused and present on the amount of work you are doing weekly in order to complete this goal. 

 

We have specified our goal and how we will measure it, now we need to make sure this goal is achievable. This step keeps us checked into realistic expectations we have of ourselves, and is the most key factor into creating obtainable goals. Now you should be wondering, is 5 applications a week realistic? Will that realistically gain me an interview in the current job market? If the answers to questions similar to these are yes, then you can move on to the next step. 

 

It’s time to make sure your goal is relevant to your long term values and goals. For our example, this may include questions like “Are the jobs I am applying to helpful for my career, or could I see myself in these careers?” and “Why am I looking for a new job?” Once there is relevant cause for your goal you can move onto the final step. 

 

Finally we have time-bound, which for some can create a bit of anxiety. The goal of this is not failure, but rather keeping yourself accountable and keeping you motivated towards your particular goals. The main questions here would be “When will you begin applying to jobs?” and “When do you expect to have an interview?”.  

 

Together, we have turned a vague goal like “finding a new job” into a Specific (Get an interview), Measurable (Applying to 5 jobs a week), Achievable, Relevant (Getting a job in my field of choice), and Time-bound Goal, or SMART goal. Now we have an action plan that accounts for our progress, is realistic, and is motivated by time. Understanding how to create goals in this manner allows you to not only take control of your success and achievements but also do it in concise measures that are not overwhelming.


Happy SMART Goal Planning ahead!

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