As we ring in 2023, you might be thinking about all the ways you can make the most out of the year. Whether you’re looking at what you can do at home, or what you can do within your company, I’m sure you’re setting goals. While it’s important to set goals, it’s more important to set healthy goals, goals that are attainable and possible to achieve. But how do you know if the goals you’re setting for yourself are healthy? Let’s look at the SMART goal concept.
What is a SMART Goal?
SMART Goals are a concept first documented by George T. Doran, a writer and then president of Management Assistance Programs, in the November 1981 edition of the Journal of Management Review.
SMART is an acronym featuring 5 elements.
S – Specific
- Be specific and clear with your goals. Being vague is your worst enemy.
M – Measurable
- How do you know you’ve completed your goal if you don’t have some form of measurement? Make sure your goal has some way to measure the progress.
A – Attainable
- There’s certainly nothing wrong with dreaming big, however, the point of SMART goals is to help you in the now. Make sure the goals that you’re setting are actually achievable. It can be discouraging to set goals and never finish them because they’re too large or unobtainable.
R – Relevant
- Make sure your goals match up with what you want to achieve. If you have a goal that is too out there, it’s going to be difficult to follow through, especially if it’s not something that’s normally in your wheelhouse. Why does a bakery need to learn auto mechanics?
T – Time-Based
- Give yourself a time-based deadline. If your goal doesn’t have a deadline, then how are you supposed to measure whether or not you’ve completed your goal? This also prevents rushing and allows you to break your goal in to appropriate parts with a timeline for each section.
Let’s look at a goal through the SMART system.
Goal: I want to increase my company’s presence in my community.
S – Specific:
- I want to increase my company’s presence within the community by attending more community events.
M – Measurable:
- Attend 4 community events this year.
A – Attainable:
- Attending 4 community events this year is within our budget.
R – Relevant:
- Being out at these events will bring awareness of my company to the people who live in our community.
T – Time-based:
- I can commit to 1 event each quarter.
SMART Goal: I will increase my company’s presence within the community by attending 1 community event each quarter, meeting and communicating with those that live and participate in events there.
As you can see, the SMART system took our generic, vague goal and made it specific. This process allows you to break the goal down into the details, making it easier to see why the goal is important and what steps need to be taken to achieve it.
Setting goals can be overwhelming, so if you are struggling to pinpoint goals in your personal or professional life, I hope this information helps. Don’t stress and be S.M.A.R.T. with your goal setting!
Doran, G.T (1981) There’s a SMART Way to Write Management Goals and Objectives. Journal of Management Review, 70, 35-36