One of the greatest things I ever learned in college was Smart Goals. My professor taught us the acronym, then shared several smart goals examples. Setting the correct types of goals is essential to getting things done and achieving success as a leader.
I have heard before, that the day Bill Clinton graduated from Yale Law School, he carried a small peice of paper in his wallet. On this paper was a list of goals. On that list, “become President of the United States.” While this isn’t a great SMART goals example, it is a great example of the power of goals and why you need to set them.
The problem with President Clinton’s goal is that, for someone other than himself, it may have been unrealistic or unattainable. Either way, it was not held down with time constraint, which is essential to SMART goals. So what is a smart goals example? I’ll show you.
“Lose 12 pounds of fat, 3 months from today.”
Lets examine how this is a smart goal:
Specific – Goals must be very specific in order for you to maintain focus. Instead of just “lose weight” try “lose 12 pounds.” Putting in a specific number gives us a beginning and an end. It tells us where we start and what will mean success.
Measurable – You must be able to track and measure your results. You should always be able to identify your progress. For example, I can measure 12 pounds of fat, and if I’ve lost 6 pounds, I know that I am half way to my goal.
Attainable – It should go without saying but you must be able to lose 12 pounds if that is your goal. Therefore, you must actually have 12 pound of fat on your body that you can afford to lose and still be healthy. Another example may be becoming President of the United States of America, well you have to be a US citizen first.
Realistic – A smart goal must be something you can actually do. See this example of Xerox sales people. Their goals were realistic, and as such, they achieved them. In our smart goal example can a person really lose 12 pounds in 3 months? Yes, the average person can lose 2 pounds per week. Since we’ll have 12 weeks we only need to lose a pound per week. This smart goal is very realistic.
Timely – When you don’t set a time requirement, you’re basically saying you just want to achieve it before you die. What is the motivation to lose 12 pounds before you die? Giving your smart goal a realistic time-frame gives you perspecttive and keeps you motivated.
Creating your next set of goals using the “SMART goals” acronym, and our smart goals example, will give you the best odds of achieving success. Remember what smart stands for and always apply it to your goals for a leg up on the competition. Good Luck!
Question: Write a SMART goal of yours in the comments below!