SMART stands for:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Attainable
  4. Realistic
  5. Timely

But what exactly do these terms mean as it relates to goal setting?

Specific
To give a specific example of any human activity would require that you write about individual people.

Avoid vague goals by answering the “W” questions about your goal:

Who will do it?
What specifically will be done?
When will it be done by?
Where will you focus?
Why is the goal important?

Measurable

Science is the study of facts—things that are measurable, testable, repeatable, verifiable.
Include specific criteria that will allow you to measure your progress and know when you have attained your goal.
Ask questions such as, “How much?” or “How many?”

Attainable

Make sure your goal is something you are willing and able to work toward. Your goal is a reasonable one.

Start by asking, “Is this a goal I am really committed to achieving?”

If you are not committed, you will struggle with the discipline and change that will be needed to achieve your goal. You also want to make sure your goal can be achieved with the skills and resources you have currently available.
It is not completely out of reach, or too easy for you.

Realistic

You should set a goal that is challenging but that you also truly believe you can accomplish.

If you believe a goal is too hard, it will be. If it doesn’t require growth or extra effort to achieve, it’s too easy.

You know you have a realistic goal when you feel excited and challenged when you think about your goal. If you feel frightened or overwhelmed when you think about your goal, try to determine how you can break it down into smaller, more manageable goals that progress to the ultimate goal.

Timely

A timeframe is needed to create a sense of urgency.

Without a timeframe, a goal becomes relegated to the, “I’ll get to it when it’s convenient” category. Challenging goals are never simply convenient; they require some discipline to achieve.

If it were convenient and easy, you wouldn’t need a goal in the first place.

Remember, if you start working on your goal and discover that any part of your SMART criteria is either too easy or too difficult, you can modify that part of your goal.

Just make sure you keep it challenging but not discouraging.

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