Our society’s focus on technology and innovation forces us to strive for “bigger and better” every day. Regardless of the industry you are in, it is important to be on the cutting edge in order to stay ahead of your competitors.
But when you are sitting in a meeting discussing how to be the best, does it ever feel like the goals being set are unreachable? Sure it would be great to be ranked number one in your field by the end of the year, but as a new company, is that really possible? Setting goals that are impossible to reach wastes time and money, when your focus could be on something that will actually be accomplished. There is no harm in striving to be the very best, but be sure that you are not spending time in an area where you will not succeed. In order to do this, it is important to set SMART goals. The SMART acronym was first published in a 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. While times have changed, these guidelines can still help individuals and companies alike tailor their goals to the kind that can be achieved, rather than the kind that get forgotten after many failures.
Specific – make sure the goal you are setting is targeting a specific area in need of improvement.
Measurable – you should be able to track the progress of your goal, beyond arbitrarily deciding whether it’s going well or not. When you can decidedly track and assess progress, the excitement you feel toward reaching your goals is a great motivator to keep going.
Achievable – as mentioned above, you don’t want to set a goal that is out of your reach. So much time will be wasted trying to accomplish something that will never get done.
Relevant – it is important the goals you set actually matter to you and will help you achieve other relevant goals. There may be a promotion available at work for the head of marketing, but are you actually interested in marketing? Would getting this promotion better your life, or would it simply be one more thing to add to your resume, just because?
Time-related – set a due date for your goal to avoid putting it off for another time. If you decide you want to lose 10 lbs, that’s great! It is specific, measurable, achievable and relevant. But if you don’t set a date to accomplish this goal, you may spend years working on those 10 lbs, when realistically, you could have been enjoying a healthier, happier you after just 6 months.
Setting goals is important. It keeps us going. It gives us a reason for being. But setting the wrong goals, or going about achieving them the wrong way, can be frustrating and demoralizing. Make sure your goals are smart so you can continue being the best you possible, at work and at home.