In the goal setting guide I created for you, we went through the 5 Phases of Reflection, which helped you come up with a list of 2 – 3 goals (or things you want to achieve) over the next year or so.
How to set SMART goals (Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant & Time-bound)
Now that we have our “somewhat formulated goals”, it’s time to make them SMART goals.
I’ll be diving deeper into the importance of setting SMART goals throughout this post, but let’s first start with answering an important question: what are smart goals?
What are SMART goals?
SMART goals are ones that give you every detail you need to achieve them. By definition, SMART goals are:
Let’s break down what each of these criteria represent, and after I’ll give you an example of a goal before and after it has been made SMART.
Being specific is something many individuals struggle with. Because you’ve been thinking about your goal for a long time, and therefore you’re knowledgable a lot about what you want to achieve, you might assume you’re being specific.
Trouble is, in reality you’re being vague about your goals – at best – and this results in you not even fully understanding what it is you want to achieve.
And if you’re not clear on what you want to achieve, how can you ever expect to be successful in accomplishing your goal?
Having a measurable goal means you have a solid reference point to help you track progress.
This is actual quantifiable data, typically a number or a percentage, that you can check in with throughout the process in order to determine whether you’re on track.
This measurable data will not only help you make critical decisions your timing, but it will help provide encouragement along the way.
When setting a goal you want to confirm your goal is realistic. While it’s important to think BIG and set goals that stretch you, you also need to take into consideration whether your goals are realistically achievable.
If you set out to achieve a goal that isn’t realistic, then you’ll be left feeling frustrated and let down by your lack of progress – the exact opposite of what you want.
There are plenty of shiny objects and projects you could be working on in your business or life, but many of these shiny objects and projects are ones you shouldn’t be working on.
Confirming your goal is relevant will not only help you identify goals that are a waste of your time so you can ditch them, but it will help you focus only on what’s most important to you.
Tasks will expand to the time allowed, and this is why it’s critical you make your goals time-bound. Without a date on the calendar, you actually achieving your goal remains open-ended. This will allow you to procrastinate, make excuses, and push your goals to the side.
Having a date for when you’ll achieve your goal helps hold you accountable, and accountability is key.
Taking a goal, making it SMART
As you can see, taking a goal and making it SMART is not easy; that’s why I’m writing this post.
I’ll walk through the exact steps you can take to make any ordinary goal a SMART goal, because without ensuring your goal is SMART, you’ll have a very difficult time actually achieving it.
This is also the first step you’ll come to in The Freedom Journal: setting your #1 SMART goal.
So let’s walk through how you can take an ordinary goal and make it SMART so that once you do dive into your very own Freedom Journal, you’ll already be ahead!
Discipline, focus, and drive
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. ~ Jim Rohn
This is where discipline, focus, and drive are required.
Anyone can set a goal, but not everyone takes the extra step to make it a SMART goal, and therefore, few actually achieve their goal.
Until you’ve gotten specific with what it is you’re trying to achieve, and have a way to measure your progress, you won’t be able to put a plan in place to execute.
Let’s take a look at an example of a goal versus a SMART goal
John’s ordinary goal: to create a journal that will help individuals accomplish their goals.
After John told me about The Freedom Journal, we both knew it had to go through the SMART screening. John’s goal was amazing, but it wasn’t even close to meeting all of the SMART criteria.
If we break down each of the individual criteria for what makes a goal SMART, this is where John’s goal was at in the beginning stages.
- Specific – as of now, his goal is kind of specific; John wants to create a journal, and he wants that journal to help individuals with their goals; however, we can get even more specific here.
- Measurable – no, there is no type of measurement we can use to determine whether or not his goal has been acieved.
- Attainable – this is an attainable goal given the resources John has, but at this point we’ll still have trouble putting a plan in place to execute; a plan is what will help us confirm whether the goal is attainable.
- Relevant – yes, John discovered a commonality amongst all 1200 of his past guests; plus, as a result of listening to our audience we’ve confirmed that accomplishing goals is a struggle, so this is relevant to our overall business goals and vision.
- Time-bound – no, we don’t have a specific deadline set.
Putting your somewhat formulated, ordinary goal up against the SMART criteria will help you start filling in the gaps and digging deeper to make this goal SMART.
Once you have a goal you want to pursue, actually write out next to each of the SMART criteria what’s missing. That way, when you go back, you can confirm what needs to be clarified.
- Specific – to create a journal that will guide individuals through setting and accomplishing their #1 goal in 100 days and launch it on Kickstarter.
Now, instead of just saying “a journal that will help individuals accomplish their goals“, we’ve added in some specifics: we want the journal to act as a guide, that it’ll help individuals set and accomplish their #1 goal in 100 days, and that it will be launched on Kickstarter.
- Measurable – to get 10,000 copies of The Freedom Journal printed and shipped to the US for distribution, and to reach our funding goal of $25,000 on Kickstarter for the launch.
Now that we have something measurable – a number – we’ll be able to track if and when the goal has been achieved. We’ll also have a way to actually track our progress.
- Attainable – now that we’ve gotten super specific about our goal and we have a measurement to help us gauge progress, we can actually put a plan in place to execute.
With a plan in place, we can confirm this is an attainable goal.
- Relevant – yes, this is relevant because John discovered a commonality amongst all 1,200 of his past guests.
Plus, as a result of listening to our audience, we’ve confirmed accomplishing goals is a struggle, so this is relevant to our overall business goals and vision.
- Time-bound – John decided he wanted to have The Freedom Journal printed and ready for a Kickstarter launch by Dec 31, 2015, so we now have a deadline in place that we’re working towards.
So we just went from taking an ordinary goal: to create a journal that will help individuals accomplish their goals.
To making it a SMART goal: to create a journal that will guide individuals through how to set and accomplish their #1 goal in 100 days and get 10,000 copies printed and ready for a launch on Kickstarter before Dec 31, 2015.
How to Accomplish Your Smart Goals
To recap where we’re at, once you’ve gone through the 5 Phases of Reflection and come up with 2 – 3 goals, it’s time to put those goals up against the SMART criteria.
Once you’ve made your goal SMART, your next step is to put a plan in place so you can execute.
Together, let’s take your SMART goal and put a plan in place you can follow; one that will help hold you accountable and help you focus on your next most important step.
Setting your #1 SMART goal is the first step in The Freedom Journal. Don’t forget to grab your Freedom Journal today so you can start tracking your progress towards (and being held accountable for) accomplishing YOUR #1 goal in 100 days!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you write smart goals?
To write a SMART goal you should fill out each of the criteria required to ensure your goal is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevent, and Time-bound. Detail out how your goal meets each of these criteria.
How can you set smart goals?
You can set SMART goals by taking any goal you’re currently working towards and putting it through the SMART criteria. To set a SMART goal you must confirm it meets the requirements: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevent, and Time-bound.
What goals should you set?
The goals you set should be based on what you want to achieve most in a specific area of your life. For example, you might set a goal for your business to help you achieve a specific growth goal. Or maybe you set a personal goal related to your health and fitness desires. Again, the goals you set should be tied to the results you want to achieve most in a specific area of your life.
What are good measurable goals for work?
Measurable goals for work are ones that help you quickly and easily track progress towards achieving the goal you’ve set. The measurement is typically a percentage or a specific number that you’re working towards. An example of a good measurable goal for work might be to increase your online sales by 20% in the next 30 days. Or maybe it’s to increase your email broadcast open rate by 5% over the next quarter.
What are examples of smart goals?
SMART goals range from person to person based on the things that are most important to them. Here are a couple of examples of SMART goals:
To try a new 90-day health & fitness routine that combines 3 times per week gym workouts with a personal trainer and eating vegan with the goal of feeling more energized and losing 20 pounds.
To increase traffic to my website by 10% month over month for the next 3 months by creating content based on the top 10 keywords in my niche.