The New Years always sees a flurry of “new year, new me” posts across social media. We’ve seen several posts from our partners and affiliates like:
- I want to grow my streaming audience in 2020, or
- I want to run a 5:15 mile, or
- I want to join team X in 2020
These are good notions for goals to set in the new year, but they lack several elements that make them achievable. Your goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. In other words, your goals need to be SMART.
SMART goal setting isn’t new. The idea was developed in 1981 as a management technique for organizational goal setting, but it’s equally effective for personal goal setting.
What Does SMART stand for?
The acronym stands for:
S – Specific
When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to accomplish. Think about this as the mission statement for your goal. This isn’t a detailed list of how you’re going to meet a goal, but it should include an answer to the popular ‘w’ questions:
- Who – Consider who needs to be involved to achieve the goal.
- What – Think about exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Don’t be afraid to get detailed.
- When – You’ll get more specific about this question under the “time-bound” section of defining SMART goals, but you should at least set a time frame.
- Where – This question may not always apply, especially if you’re setting personal goals, but if there’s a location or relevant event, identify it here.
- Which – Determine any related obstacles or requirements. This question can be beneficial in deciding if your goal is realistic. For example, if the goal is to open a baking business, but you’ve never baked anything before, that might be an issue. As a result, you may refine the specifics of the goal to be “Learn how to bake in order to open a baking business."
- Why – What is the reason for the goal? When it comes to using this method for employees, the answer will likely be along the lines of company advancement or career development.
M – Measurable
What metrics are you going to use to determine if you meet the goal? This makes a goal more tangible because it provides a way to measure progress. If it’s a project that’s going to take a few months to complete, then set some milestones by considering specific tasks to accomplish.
A – Achievable
This focuses on how important a goal is to you and what you can do to make it attainable and may require developing new skills and changing attitudes. The goal is meant to inspire motivation, not discouragement. Think about how to accomplish the goal and if you have the tools/skills needed. If you don’t currently possess those tools/skills, consider what it would take to attain them.
R – Relevant
Relevance refers focusing on something that makes sense with your overall goals. For example, if the goal is to grow your streaming audience, it should be something that’s in alignment with your overall objective.
T – Time-Bound
Anyone can set goals, but if it lacks realistic timing, chances are you’re not going to succeed. Providing a target date for deliverables is imperative. Ask specific questions about the goal deadline and what can be accomplished within that time period. If the goal will take three months to complete, it’s useful to define what should be achieved half-way through the process. Providing time constraints also creates a sense of urgency.
Creating your SMART goals
When you’re ready to create your SMART goals, be prepared to ask yourself a lot of questions. Answering them will help tune your strategy and ensure your goals are attainable. Be as realistic as possible, and have a positive attitude. Remember - these are things you want to achieve.
Download the SMART template
We've created a template for you to use in your own SMART goal-setting. You can download it here.