Set Yourself Up for Success with S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting


    We’ve always been motivated to study hard, get good jobs, and do our best in order to have successful careers and live comfortable lives. Yet, there are still so many people living their lives without really knowing where they are heading.

    Rather than being passive, why not take charge and live your life the way you want by learning how to set your personal and professional goals using the S.M.A.R.T. way.

    Why Set Goals

    Learning the science behind goal setting gives you a powerful tool for planning your ideal future and keeping yourself motivated.

    For the long-term, goals serve to plot out the direction you’re going to in your lifetime (or, say, over the next 10 years) and help you see the bigger picture and influence you how you make decisions at the present. For example, if 10 years from now, your goal is to become a top manager in the banking and finance industry, then all your career decisions (i.e. what courses to study, who to connect with) will be geared toward that long-term goal.

    For the short-term, goals help us stay motivated and have the confidence to continue towards are long-term plans especially if we are able to see real progress when it comes to knowledge acquisition and time management skills. In other words, it helps us become more productive people.

    Think you are still not as productive at work as you would want to be? Here’s how to work smarter and get more things done.

    Using S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting

    Using S.M.A.R.T. (or SMART) goal setting helps you create goals that are well planned, and thus, are more likely to be achieved.

    S = Specific. This is the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of your goal.

    WHAT = What do you want to do?
    WHY = Why is this important to you?
    HOW = How are you going to achieve this?

    For example:

    WHAT: I want to organize my office desk.
    WHY: So it’s easier to find things and I can work more efficiently.
    HOW: Organise different things in smaller containers, properly label them and return them to their proper place after use.

    M = Measurable. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Create your goals in such a way that you can measure its progress so that you can really see the change occur in your life.

    For example, adding a numerical value to your goal makes it measureable. Instead of saying “We want more customers”, say, “Let’s aim to get 2 new clients each month”.

    A = Attainable. When you go through the process of writing down your specific goals, you can also find ways on how to achieve them. You develop this attitude of thinking about your current resources and abilities and how you can use those to make your goal come true.

    For example, if one of your goals is to lose 2 kilogrammes in one month, you can then start plotting your exercise schedule for a month. When you’ve achieved this goal, aiming to lose a further 2 kilogrammes the following month will also be attainable for you. Thus, you keep yourself motivated as you keep on achieving your set goals.

    R = Realistic. This means you have to be honest with yourself and really see where you are now relative to the goal you are planning to achieve.

    For example, saying you won’t ever eat cakes, chocolates, or other sweets ever again may not be a good idea if you’re the type that really like sweets. Trying to reduce the amount of sweets you eat will be a more realistic goal.

    Setting goals that are too difficult, demand too many resources that you do not have at the moment, or go totally against your learning curve will just be like setting yourself up for failure. But this doesn’t mean you should only set very easy goals. You should try to set the bar high enough so that you will also have a very satisfying achievement once you do get your goal.
    T = Time-bound. You should set a time frame for your goals. Make these periods shorter so that you can also see progress more quickly rather than waiting for many years.

    For example, create time-bound goals by using time frames like: next week, next quarter, or by age 30, etc.

    Having a clear time frame will not only motivate you, but also strengthen your commitment towards making that goal into a reality. Without a time limit, you lose the sense of urgency and you eventually lose your motivation because you can just always say to yourself that you’ll start again tomorrow.
    By using the SMART goal setting technique, you increase your chances for professional and personal success because you know exactly where to concentrate your efforts.

    Moreover, having goals clearly written down and with a definite time limit can also help you stay motivated and detect distractions faster so you can also quickly go back on track.

    Finally, you’ll also gain self-confidence as you realise that you have gained the skills necessary to achieve the goals you set out to do.

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