Thoughts on SMART goal setting

Posted on January 2, 2017


Back in 2015 I had specific goals set for the year. I did not actually realise them in totality but I did make appreciable progress. And as my Dad once told me, don’t be afraid to aim for the stars – you might only get to the treetops but at least you got off the ground. But 2016 was basically goalless and the end result was that I have actually gone backwards in plenty of things.

It was seeing my friend Courtney post an image of her goals 2017 that got me thinking and writing down thoughts for the year ahead.

As far I have not yet set all my goals into any specific plan. That is still coming. But as I work on it, I am struck by the fact that this is a form of project management: Project Me. And an important aspect of project management is setting tasks and goals with both needing to be specific. Instead of a more generalised form of ‘goal’ come up with a quite specific one eg put the rubbish bin on the footpath by 7pm on bin night.

A tool that is useful in project management goal setting is SMART. When setting goals, put the SMART acronym to work.

S: a goals needs to be specific – who needs to do what, where and by when

M: the goals need to be measurable – use concrete criteria that can be measured in assessing your goal.

A: is your goal achievable – something realistic and capable of being achieved?

R: a goal has to be realistic – I could set a goal of becoming a multi-millionaire playboy by next Wednesday afternoon but it would hardly be realistic. By all means stretch yourself but still be realistic.

T: every goal needs to be timely – you need time frames to help give those goals specificity. ‘Lose weight’ lacks all specificity. ‘Lose 10 kilograms’ lacks the important ‘when factor. Without introducing timing aspects, there is much less impetus to actually get onto it. But don’t forget the realism: ‘lose 10 kilograms before next Saturday’ is hardly going to be realistic, or if it is realised then that couldn’t have been via healthy, sustainable means.

Once you have crafted your goals using the SMART tool, the next step is to work out how you can realise them; what steps need to be achieved along the way. And having specific tasks also helps with achieving the ‘specific’ nature of your goals. SMART can be equally applied to constructing the tasks needed to achieve your goals.

The steps I have discussed are important to managing important projects, but what can be a more important project than Project You?

For now, I am still writing about what I want, looking at why and how I could perhaps realise that. From this I expect to develop the necessary goals and tasks, which meet the SMART criteria. Once all that is finalised, I intend creating a vision board which has images representing the goals I am going after, for putting on the wall as an ongoing reminder. And all of it and accompanying thoughts are being scribbled down in a specific journal where I also intend tracking progress along the way.

So, be SMART and set yourself some goals for this year.

Over to you – any thoughts on how else we can perform better with our goals?

Ross sig

Posted in: Opinion, Other