SMART Goal Setting – A Practical Approach to Achieving Your Desires

After working for almost two decades in marketing where we planned and planned and then planned some more I was convinced the world knew about setting goals. Apparently I was wrong so I’m going to take you through a basic process called SMART goal setting.

As you proactively work through your goal plans you will be motivated to build on your success as each step moves you closer to obtaining a job that is fulfilling and satisfying. SMART goals set you up for success by keeping you focused, efficient and in action. The acronym stands for: Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely

We’ll use two examples to illustrate the process. One is a SMART goal example and the other is not.

SMART example: As of July 1, I will phone five employment agencies that specialize in IT recruitment and go for three agency meetings by the end of July.

Non-SMART example: I will meet with employment agencies.

** Specific

The SMART goal provides specific guidance on the ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘what’ will be done to achieve the goal.

Can you see the different between that and the general goal? In the second example we understand we will meet with agencies but we don’t know if we are meeting 2 or 30 or by when?

** Measurable

How will you know if you have achieved a goal if you can’t measure it?

The example states we will obtain THREE interviews by contacting THREE agencies over a certain period.

Once all these factors are ticked off you know the goal has been achieved. Going back to our non-SMART example, how would you know if you achieved your goal, how many interviews would it take for it to be complete and over what period?

Establishing specific criteria for reaching a goal allows you to determine how close you are to achieving it. It is also motivating to watch your progress. Measures usually consist of time, numbers, percentages and dates.

** Attainable

There are two locus of control in life: internal and external.

You have the ability to control yourself so a goal tends to be more attainable if it’s left up to you.

We sometimes set ourselves up to fail on the external factors which can include: time commitments, relying on others or economic factors.

In our first goal we say we are meeting with three employment agencies over the period of a month and although we’re relying on others a reasonable amount of time has been allowed to contact and set up appointments.

** Realistic

Effective goal setting requires you to be willing and able to achieve your goals.

An unrealistic goal may be: I will call 100 IT agencies and set up 30 agency meetings within one week.

Although this might be a viable goal the unrealistic aspect comes into play on the numbers. Of course you can go to IT agencies to discuss your job desires, but it’s unlikely you will be able to set up the set meetings in the specified period of time.

** Timely

Procrastination is one of the key goal achieving inhibitors. An end of the month time frame is an attribute of our SMART goal. Our other example is open ended, so for those of us who like postponing action the deadline could be in 10 years’ time!

SMART goal setting is a practical way to keep you on trackFeature Articles, motivated and working towards achieving your goals.

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