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How to Set SMART Goals for Success


The SMART technique was originally coined by Sonja Lyubomirsky. Setting SMART goals for success is a simple process. Setting smart goals for success using the SMART method consists of the following attributes.


Having straightforward goals will emphasize what your objectives are succinctly so that there is a much higher likelihood that they will actually happen. Specifics help to focus efforts and to best clearly define what the intentions are for any given purpose or activity. They can be particularly beneficial for goal setting since they provide a road map to refer to regularly to stay on track.


The mandate when it comes to goals seems to be that if it can't be measured, it most likely cannot be managed. Ultimately, a goal statement serves as a measurement method for any project. When a goal can be accomplished, the overall project can be a successful endeavor. With most projects, there are typically several short-term goals that amount to smaller "measurements" which are built into a specific goal.


When goals are identified, they are usually prioritized according to what is most important. It is at this time that you can begin to confront what needs to be done to achieve them. You can develop the proper attitudes, skills, financial capacity and other assets needed to reach the goals. Sometimes, previously overlooked opportunities can materialize through this process.


It is important to set goals that are realistic, however, not necessarily so simple that they will pose no challenge. The learning curve to accomplish a goal should include available skills needed to do the work and that the project aligns with overall goals and strategy. Realistic projects can expand the skills and knowledge of whomever will be working on them, but should not be so outside the realm of possibility as to be unrealistic and, therefore, unattainable.

If you devise a plan of action with bullet points to achieve, the goal will seem much more realistic. Including tasks that you know can be accomplished will give you a sense of success, very early on in the process. These are important steps and can reinforce and motivate completion of other tasks that maybe harder to confront. Use a gradient scale of achievement so that each task is broken down to the most specific actions. Balance the projects so that attainment is neither always too easy or too difficult.


Set time frames for each task within a project for a goal. Use realistic time settings and take stock of every sub-task that will need to be accomplished so that there is a logical flow designed. Putting an end time or date on each task will clarify each target to work toward in an orderly fashion. It is important to set a time period because, if not, the commitment can be too vague. Tasks without some sort of time frame can fail to materialize because time represents accountability. You can always adjust a task's time line as necessary. Therefore, set as realistic a time frame as you can to start with. This important because if you do not, it will never seem like there is any reason to really tackle the task.

Remember that all tasks associated with projects and goals should be measurable, realistic and therefore, attainable. Most everyone can benefit from having tangible goals with targets and projects in order for the objectives to actually materialize. The SMART program is an instrument that can be applied to any set of goal setting objectives.

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