SMART is a tested managerial method for goal formulation which stands for specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic and timely. These are the features which will increase the likelihood that your goals will be successfully completed. Let's have a look at what the words mean.
Unlike a vision, which is supposed to be a general idea to aim for
, a goal needs to be specific
. So let's say you would like to be fitter. That in itself is not a correctly formulated goal because it is not clear what needs to be done to complete it. A specific goal would be for example: "I will become fitter by cycling regularly
". Or, a different type of goal: "I will learn to play the guitar.
To check if a goal has really been met and if we are making progress, the activity has to be measurable. If we continue with the goals from the previous paragraph, measurable goals would be: "I will measure my fitness level by cycling 10 km every week"
or "I will learn to play the 12 basic major chords on the guitar".
To make sure we really make progress, our goals have to be ambitious. Of course, this criterion is relative because ambitious means different things to different people. If we want to start running, a very energetic walk or walk with short runs in between might be ambitious enough. On the other hand, experienced runners might need to decide on the number of kilometers they want to complete. Our goal should be set in such a way that it makes full use of our abilities and challenges us, develops us and teaches us something new.
As well as being ambitious, the goal also needs to be realistic. The goal must be truly achievable for us. If it is not, it is not a goal and can only demotivate us. This principle is probably the easiest of SMART, yet people often make mistakes with it. This is especially true for the perfectionist and workaholics who, in our S-Personality test, also score very high values in their relation to work. When choosing an achievable goal, how measurable it is can help us a lot - we can better estimate the difficulty when dividing it into sub-sections, and also keep track of its completion and, if necessary, adjust it.
It is crucial to set deadlines - the previous 4 features cannot be evaluated without them. We should always set a specific deadline by which our goal should be completed.
So what might a SMART goal look like?
"I will exercise every morning. I will start with 20 push-ups and will add 1 every day until I do 100 - by 30/9."
"I will learn to cook 30 new meals from cookbooks, every Saturday one - by 31/12."
"I will save 600 EUR, at least 50 EUR a month - by 31/12."
Other tips, spreading the goals and staying positive
Among other great rules for goal setting, there is one about spreading the goal in time. Research on new year's resolutions suggests that people are more likely to complete their goals if they separate them into smaller steps. Our examples were formed like that on purpose. By making the goal measurable, it is easy to evaluate if it has been completed. But we believe it should also make it possible for the goal to be checked regularly, which is easier when you divide it into smaller parts.
To make the goals motivating, try to formulate them positively - not "I will not do this or that" but by focusing on the positive result you are striving for.
Short-term, medium-term, long-term goals and their interconnection with the vision
When working with goals and vision, we recommend to divide goals into three categories based on the time of their completion. It is up to you how long the time is. It is logical to connect them with your vision, which represents the state you want to reach. Based on your vision, you can form long-term goals (for example for the next 3-5 years). These are specific goals you need to complete to make your vision come true.
Then, based on your long-term goals, choose your short-term goals (ones which you will need to focus on soon, such as in the upcoming 6 months) and medium-term goals (for example in a year, these follow up your short-term goals and link them with your long-term ones). While your short-term goals will be "common", your long-term ones should be clearly linked to the values of your vision.
That is all. Growmon wishes you a pleasant search for your vision!