WHAT ARE SMART GOALS
by Anurag Aggarwal
(New Delhi, India)
“Life without goal is like cricket without wicket.”
To understand this saying, we must understand the meaning of GOAL first. As per the dictionary, a goal is the end result or achievement, in which effort is directed. However, in actual life, goal is that the first step in making your dreams a reality. A dream can also be your goal but to make a dream as your goal, you must actively pursue it, work for it. You must take steps to reach towards it.
In most organisations, in the process of goal setting, the word SMART goal is used quite often. SMART goals prove to be a way to not just decide what to do, but how to do it in a way to determine whether or not progress is made. It also helps in affirming when the goal is achieved. Thus SMART goal stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed.
Specific means well defined and this type of goal has a greater chance of accomplishment than a general goal. This should be easily understandable to make it easier to achieve the goal. Goals are misunderstood when they are not clear and thus we fail to accomplish them. Specific goals give us the detail of what has to be done and so we can take appropriate actions.
A specific goal should give answers to the questions like:
Who (who all are involved), what (what is to be accomplished), where (location), when (time frame), which (requirements) and why (purpose of the goal).
For example: A general goal may to be to “become a public speaker” but a specific goal would be “join a public speaking and personality development course and become a public speaker in 2 years”.
Measurable means having the knowledge whether the goal is obtainable. Set quantifiable term in order to compare where we are and how far we have to go to reach the desired target. By using a tracking method we can know how much will be gained by achieving the goal and encourage persistent improvement. A goal is measurable when it answers the questions like how much,
how many, how I will know if it is accomplished?
Attainable means the goals should be within the ability and capability of those involved. They should extend their capabilities a little bit so as to reach to the desired target. It should be challenging but still within the reach of the people. When you identify your goals you develop abilities, skills and attitude to attain them. Your personality development helps you to get closer to them. Plan your steps carefully to rise up. Goals would seem to get closer to you because of your urge to reach to them.
Relevant indicates the goal must be set with a purpose. The person must know its influence and how it affects him. A relevant goal increases commitment and the person has a high motivational level towards meeting such a goal.
Timed goals have a certain time frame for their attainment. There should be deadline for the accomplishment of the target goal. A time based goal helps in monitoring the progress and making the necessary adjustment for meeting the goal. With no deadline, there would be no urgency to achieve the goal and thus it may never be achieved. For example: “I want to be the best in public speaking someday”. This someday will never come. Rather you should set your goal as “I want to be the best in public speaking by 20th May 2013”. After you have fixed this time frame, you will try all the means to be the best public speaker by then.
Goal setting is also a personality indicator. In the course of personality development, your appearance is not the only point that is counted. Your personality is also judged by the clarity or your thoughts, your ambition and your goals. So set SMART goal to reflect a positive personality.
The author Anurag Aggarwal is a public speaker and a trainer on Public Speaking, Presentation Skills and Personality Development for nearly 12 years and has conducted over three thousand workshops, trainings and seminars so far.
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