Every goal you set is the next step towards achieving greater things in your life. But it`s easier to achieve these goals when you consider all the aspects required to complete them.

When you create a goal with all the SMART components, you have a greater chance of completing it, and within a reasonable time frame. You`ll also be able to eliminate ambiguity and track progress more easily, which will save you headaches on the road to success.

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym - each letter represents a different quality your goal must have to give it the best chance of completion. SMART means:

Specific (Specific)

Let`s analyze the meaning of each letter in SMART.

SMART Goals Template

Specific (Specific) Goals should not be easily confused with each other, nor should they leave you confused about what you really want. Therefore, you need to be specific. When a goal is specific rather than broad, it eliminates any uncertainty as you or your team work towards it. How can you get to the heart of what you want to achieve and set a targeted goal? Answering questions like:

What do I/we want to accomplish? What steps do I/we need to take to get there? Who is responsible for completing each step of the goal? See our guide on writing a project scope for more tips on making your work more specific.

Measurable Aligning closely with specificity, you also need to be able to measure your goals. Quantify your goals with objective markers such as a number, deadline date, or percentage change. That way, it will be clearer when you complete them and you can ensure that the progress you make along the way isn`t lost. Ask yourself:

How should you objectively measure what you want to achieve? How will you track your progress toward goal completion? Could someone take your goal and understand what they would need to see to know it was successful?

Achievable If you set a goal that`s too easy, you won`t feel the same satisfaction when you achieve it. On the other hand, a goal that is too difficult may seem meaningless to you or your team. Ultimately, you have a much better chance of achieving your goals if you find a balance between challenging and impossible. See if you can answer these questions about your goal:

Can you/your team reasonably complete your objective? Is it a "stretch goal" - one that is purposefully challenging but still achievable? Is there any reason why someone would be unmotivated by this goal?

Relevant If you want to prioritize this goal over other objectives, it must be fully aligned with the broader direction you want to go. When a goal is relevant, you are more likely to stay interested and feel inspired to complete it. Here are some questions to consider:

Why are you setting this goal? How does this goal fit into your broader aspirations? What would achieving this goal mean to you?

Time-bound No one likes a goal that drags on without ever being completed. Goals that don`t have an end date can be susceptible to scope changes and unclear success metrics. Therefore, when setting your goal, it is important to accompany it with a deadline. And if there are subtasks within the SMART goal, each one needs to have its own deadline within a clearly defined timeline. When setting your deadline, think:

Are there pressing factors that will determine when this goal needs to be completed? Is this deadline realistic for completing this goal? Do I need to consider any period when I won`t be able to work on the goal?

Advantages and Disadvantages of SMART Goals Advantages of SMART Goals

Although setting a goal with all the SMART elements may take more time than a goal that you have roughly worked out, it is worth the time investment. A SMART goal should excite you and have value over time. However, there may be times when a SMART goal simply isn`t right for you.

advantages of SMART goals

They Provide Direction When you and your team know exactly what you`re working toward, you can see how your work contributes to the overall goal. This is a great motivator to keep people on track. Formulating SMART goals will help the team communicate well and strive to achieve the end result.

They Take You Out of Your Comfort Zone Sitting down and setting a SMART goal can really make you consider the possibilities. They can make you achieve more than you thought you could before. And once you`ve taken the time to come up with a SMART goal, it will be harder to

il leave it aside.

They provide clarity about your success It`s common to reach the end of a project and not be sure whether you achieved exactly what you set out to do at the beginning. A SMART objective should more clearly define goals with metrics, specific objectives, and deadlines so you can more easily measure your successes.

They make it simpler to evaluate the project Even if you can`t complete a goal, you can still analyze it later. What went well and what didn`t? How would you change your approach to a goal like this in the future? SMART goals make it easier to measure the success of your completed project because the initial objectives are clearer to observe.

Disadvantages of SMART goals

There may be times when a SMART goal demotivates you or stops you from moving forward.

In a world of continual deadlines, adding one more to the list can be overwhelming. If the goal didn`t need a deadline, adding one without a valid reason could create unnecessary pressure. Setting SMART goals all the time can also inhibit spontaneity and creativity. When you`re always working toward clearly defined goals, you have less opportunity to deal with unknown variables.

Ultimately, to create a SMART goal, you need to know all aspects of the goal – what you will achieve, how long it will take, and how you will measure success. Sometimes it can be beneficial to start working on what you want to achieve before you even know all the details.