How to Set SMART Goals and Why Goal Setting is Important

What are your goals in life?


1. If you have the list, it’s great.


2. If you have some idea in the back of your mind, but you did not put any effort to convert it into goals, then you are just one step away.


3. If you don’t have any goals at all, then you belong to the club, where people don’t know what they want in their life.


Most of you fall into the second or third category. You live your life as it takes. And you have less control over the direction of your life.


But you can improve this situation when you understand What is a goal and why goal setting is important?


We will run you through the different aspects of goals, which will help you to set your goals.

 

How to Set SMART Goals and Why Goal Setting is Important
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Image Source: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

What is a Goal?


“A Goal is a specific result that a person wants to achieve within a fixed time frame.”


The biggest challenge in setting goals is the Timeframe. Many of you want to do things, but you don’t know when. Because of that, you always procrastinate on things. To overcome this, you should know how to set it.

 

How to set goals?


Setting a goal is the starting point of your journey towards success. It helps you to trigger action and focus on your target. It’s a process that makes your dream come into reality.


There are plenty of methods to set goals, but for now, we will use the most famous process, SMART goals.

 

What are SMART Goals?


A SMART goal is a method to help you set competent goals which ensure successful outcomes. This method makes it easier 
for you to clarify your ideas, set timelines, focus your efforts, optimize the resources and track your progress.

smart goal acronym
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The acronym for SMART goals is


S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound

 

How to Write SMART Goals?


Specific:


The goal should be clear and well-defined. You cannot have a general term in your goal statement. Being specific helps you to allocate your energy to the right place.


These five “w” questions will help you to make your goals specific,


1. Why? – Why do I want to achieve this goal?

Reason for your goal.


2. What? – What do I want to achieve this goal?

Think about what you want to accomplish.


3. Which? – Which requirements do I need to achieve my goal? 

Ex: If the goal is to ride 200 km on the bicycle and if you never tried before. You can refine your goals like, “Improve your fitness to ride 200 km on the bicycle”.


4. Where? – Where do I want to achieve my goal?

This question is applicable when your goal is location-based. 

Ex: I want to climb Mount Everest by December 2022


5. Who? – Who is needed to achieve the goal?

This question is relevant when you are involved in a team goal.

 

Measurable


Your goal should have criteria so that it’s much easier for you to know how much you have progressed.

As you work through your goal, measurement helps you to feel motivated and helps to maintain your focus on your goals.

If your goal is long-term, you can set some intermediate milestones to help you reach your main goal.

Attainable (Achievable)


Your goal should be practical and attainable. But also, it has to challenge you. It may require you to learn new things, develop new skills, and change your mindset.


Ask yourself the following questions to make your goal achievable,

  • How can I achieve this goal?
  • Do I have the skills or resources needed to achieve this goal?
  • How realistic is your goal, based on your situation?

Relevant


Your goal should make sense for you and your vision in life. Think of your present situation and set your goal. It should be set, considering the available resources you have right now.


The following questions can help you to decide whether your goal is relevant,

  • What is the output of the goal?
  • Is it the right time to go for this goal?
  • Does it match with my overall vision?

Example: If you want to change your career path from design to marketing, you can ask yourself,

What is the relevant training I need to hone the skills for the marketing department?

Time-Bound


Any goal should have a definite start date and end date. Time is the driving factor, as it triggers a sense of urgency and focus.


When you don’t set a target date, your goal sometimes becomes irrelevant, even when you achieve it.


Also, you should set realistic timings because it helps you to define whether you succeed or not. Set intermediate milestones in goals, which can help you track your progress.


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish in one year or six months?
  • What do I need to do for the next one hour?

Final thoughts on SMART goals


The SMART process helps you to set specific and attainable goals. And they are relevant to your vision in life. You can use this method for planning any goal in your life.

 

SMART Goal setting worksheet template

SMART Goal setting worksheet template
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SMART Goal setting worksheet template


Why Goal setting is important in your life?

 

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes. —Andrew Carnegie


Setting goals is one of the important activities one cannot easily ignore. The benefits you get from this are massive. It changes your life completely.


Let us look at some of the benefits of goal setting


Benefits of Goal Setting

 

1. Goals guides you in the right direction

goal setting benefits_right direction
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When you set goals, it guides you in the direction of your dream. It sets the path for you. Even without setting goals, you might have achieved want you wanted. But the way of the direction you took would have been a difficult one.

Setting goals helps you to make your travel more efficient.

It is like traveling to a new place without Google maps. You might still reach your destination, but with Google maps, you will reach your destination faster, easier, and in an efficient way.

2. Goals help you sharpen your focus


If you don’t set goals, your mind will wander. One day you will have plenty of ideas that you want to explore. But on the next day, you will forget or come up with a new set of ideas altogether.


Then you work on some ideas for one week, and in the next week, you will stop the existing one and start working on a new idea.


This cycle of constant change in your thoughts does not lead you anywhere. It simply occupies your mind. and wants your energy and effort.


But if you set goals, it helps to focus on your target. Also, it helps to align all your effort and energy without distractions.

 

3. Goals helps you to find what is important in your life


You are surrounded by so many things in life. Sometimes you don’t know what is important in your life. When you set goals and start working on them, you will slowly start understanding the impact it creates.


The goal you have set should answer the following questions,

  • Is it giving me the benefits?
  • Am I enjoying working on this goal?

If the answers to the above questions are positive, you should continue working on the goal. If not, stop it and realign your goal, so that you can meet your target.

 

4. Goals helps you to measure progress


When you set goals, you know your end target. From that, you will set intermediate milestones. These milestones will help you to measure your progress.


For example: If your goal is to reduce your weight by 20kg in one year. You can set intermediate milestones like 2kg every month I need to target, which will help you to track your progress every month.

 

5. Goals makes you accountable


Who is responsible for you not getting the promotion?

Answer: My Manager has not given


Who is responsible for you not participating in the Marathon you have registered for?

Answer: I did not have time to prepare myself because I was busy taking care of my kids


Most of you transfer responsibility to others when you are not meeting the target. But when you set goals, you keep yourself accountable for your actions.


If you set a goal, you will take the necessary steps and be honest with yourself. When you don’t achieve your goal, you will know where you should improve. But on the other side, when you achieve your goal, you will feel a sense of pride and motivation to push your limits.

 

6. Goals keep you motivated


The motivation to

  • complete that last step in the gym,
  • finish writing the last paragraph before you go to bed,
  • waking up early to attend the training

is only possible when you set goals. Goals set you a destination and motivate you every day to reach the destination. And when you move closer, the results of the hard work you have put in starts to emerge. It creates continuous momentum in you to work towards that.


The small wins keep you on the right path and ensure you take night action. Goals are the foundation of motivation.

 

7. Goals help you to believe in yourself


When you achieve the goals you have set, you will have satisfaction and pride. You will start feeling better about yourself and get addicted to achieving more by moving out of your comfort zone.


You will become the best version of yourself which makes you work towards your full potential.


8. Goals help you to take action instead of procrastination


Your dream of accomplishing things will become only a dream if you procrastinate. But if you convert your dreams into a goal, it triggers action from your side and makes you accountable to reach the goal. That way, you beat procrastination.


Goals act like an “Alarm” in your head. You cannot snooze it every time. One or the other day, you have to take action. The action you take helps you move closer to the goal.


You must regularly revisit your goal list. It helps you understand where you stand and motivates you to take action. Most of you have a goals list, but you become lazy to revisit and thus procrastinate. So, never do that.

 

Final Thoughts


Goal setting is one of the essential chapters in your life as it takes you to the places where you dreamed. There are plenty of benefits you get out of it. You can achieve anything in your life if you plan your goals.


It’s never too late to set a goal. You can do it now.


“If you are waiting for the right time, it’s now.”


Featured Image Source: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

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