SMART Goal Setting: Why It's The Ultimate Career Power Move
If you feel like working is not getting you anywhere, try SMART goal setting and take control of your professional life.
Setting career goals comes naturally to most people. You may not even realize that you’ve already identified certain milestones that you’d like to achieve at work. What can set you apart is how you transform these goals into actions, and eventually, achievements. A technique called SMART goal setting can help you create a concrete plan and keep these targets within range until you hit them. Read on to find out more.
What Is SMART Goal Setting?
In this competitive landscape, simply working hard is no longer enough. Work smart! You should and trajectory you want for yourself. Doing this keeps you from stagnating in a specific position. It also gives you the motivation to move forward. SMART is an acronym widely used in work settings since 1981 when it first appeared in an article in Management Review. It’s become a business buzzword since.
In his book, Attitude is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond, businessman Paul J. Meyer breaks SMART goal setting down and how setting aims can help you get to where you want to be.
S is for Specific.
Setting goals is not as simple as saying “I want to be successful.” The SMART system encourages expressing very specific goals so you can focus your efforts towards attaining them. Having this concrete “target” can also keep you motivated. Imagine trying to hit the bullseye without what or where it is — kind of impossible, right?
The book recommends asking yourself the following W questions when setting goals: What do you want to accomplish? Why is it important to you? Who can be instrumental to you achieving this goal? Where can you find it? Which resources will be helpful to you?
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M is for Measurable.
, make them measurable. This means setting particular parameters towards achieving the goal. Measurable goals should answer questions of quantity, such as “how much,” “how many,” and “how will I know when I’ve accomplished it.”
For example, if your goal is to have your own perfume business, determine what kind of training you will need to achieve it. Enumerate the steps and permits you need to acquire. Write these small milestones down for you to tick off as you accomplish them.
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A is for Achievable.
There’s nothing wrong with having lofty goals. However, not ensuring that they are realistic and achievable can wear you out. You want to be sure that you’re in it for the long haul, so the measures you are taking must be practical. Ask yourself, is your goal realistic considering certain limitations, such as time, availability of resources, and money?
Meyer recommends phrasing your goals in a way that doesn’t depend on other people. For example, instead of saying, “I want to win a Palanca award,” — which would entail so many external factors such as the quality of other candidates and the perception of the judges — say, “I want to be able to write a book that’s worthy of a Palanca award.”
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R is for Relevant.
Yes, your goal is something YOU want to accomplish; however, this doesn’t mean you should succeed in isolation from everything else. There are other factors to consider, such as its timeliness, how it can affect people around you at work, if it is indeed for you, or if it’s even on the table.
For example, if you’re gunning for a promotion this year, ask yourself if there’s somewhere to promote you to or if you need to pitch a lateral move or alternative to your superiors. Can your company afford to give you a raise at this time? Does your current team need you more than you need the promotion? Taking these into consideration can show your bosses that you are a mature team player, which can go in your favor later.
T is for Time-Bound.
Give yourself a target date and try to be strict about it. Trying to achieve a goal with no specific time frame in mind can help you stay focused. It can prevent other tasks from taking over or distracting you from your goals. Having a deadline can help you manage your time daily and in the long term.
When SMART goal setting, ask yourself: When is my target date? What major tasks do I have to do in the next six months? What major tasks can I do this week? What can I do today?
Try practicing SMART goal setting to create more concrete targets that you can achieve with specific steps, milestones, and deadlines. It keeps you motivated and your goals within reach, giving you a leg up over your competition, and more importantly, helps you get better every day.