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The S.M.A.R.T Plan

Setting SMART goals. Setting a clear goal can be one intensive task. From deciding WHAT you want to achieve, to HOW you plan to get it done, all the way to WHY you even decided to do it in the first place. Goals are important in planning both as an individual or as a business. Nonetheless, more often than not, we set goals that we do not achieve in the end. One way to ensure that you follow through with your goals is to set S.M.A.R.T goals. The acronym is often used when referring to the goal planning process. Each letter stands for the words; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Each of these are very important in the goal planning process. Let’s walk through the process of setting S.M.A.R.T goals:
  1. SPECIFIC: Specific goals are definite and clear. They are not vague or uncertain. When your goals are certain and clear, it’s easier to achieve these goals. This is because you know what you intend to achieve and how you intend to achieve it just by looking at the goal.
To make a specific goal, you have to write down what you intend to accomplish. You must also include how and when you want to achieve this goal. When in the goal planning process, including a reason for the goal also helps you have a more specific goal. For example a random goal might be something like I want to read more books. A more specific goal might be something like ” I want to read more self development books this year by reading a book every month so I can boost my personal growth.” 2. Measurable : In the goal planning process, it’s important to set measurable goals. Measurable goals allow you to monitor and define your progress, growth and improvement. When planning, you have to include predefined criteria that will allow you tell when your goal is accomplished. What’s the point of setting a goal if you can’t determine whether you are making progress? You set yourself up for failure if there is no means of tracking your goal. To set measurable goals, you must write down how many times or things you have to do to achieve the goal. Ensure to set measurable goals You must also include the end result i.e how you can tell that you have achieved the goal? To make it more measurable, you should also include how you intend to track your progress. For example, to make our earlier specific goal measurable, we can rewrite it like this: “I want to read more self development books this year by reading a book every month so I can boost my personal growth. By the end of this year, I should have read 12 books. I will aim to put one thing I learn each month into action.” 3. Achievable: A goal or plan that is achievable is one that is attainable. Oftentimes, you find yourself setting goals that are impossible to achieve. When you plan this way, you automatically set yourself for failure. Before setting a goal, you have to make sure that it’s both realistic and possible. It should encourage you to do things you’ve not done before yet should be totally reachable. Ask yourself if something similar has been achieved by someone else before. Ask yourself how realistic and attainable this goal is. Is the goal entirely dependent on you? How do you intend to achieve this goal? For example: Wanting to read one book a month is totally achievable and completely realistic. On the other hand, trying to finish a 500 page book everyday might not be totally attainable. 4.Relevant: Another important part of the goal planning process, is to ensure that your goals are relevant. How important are your goals to your current life situation? Is your goal applicable to your current life process? What life long dreams will the goal enhance? It’s important that your goal remains relevant to you. If you set goals that you don’t consider relevant, it might be difficult to find the drive to pursue those goals. Ensure that your goals are worthwhile to you. It’s also important to note that you have to be the one responsible for your goal. Your goal should not be dependent on others. This might have lost relevance. For example, trying to get your boss to like you is dependent on someone else. Trying to become the best at what you do and fulfil your duties to the best of your abilities is dependent on you. A relevant goal is also a goal that matches with your current needs and state of life. A student that has exams approaching will not find it relevant to set a goal to read more non- academic books. A budding entrepreneur on the other hand, will see relevance in setting goals to read business related books. 5. Timebound: A SMART goal plan is made up of goals that are time bound. When setting your goals, you must decide when you want to achieve these goals. Ensure that your goal has a start and finish date. Having a deadline will help you see the urgency of achieving that goal. Setting goals that are dtimeboun When your goals don’t have deadlines, it’s a little more difficult to achieve them. This is due to the fact that deadlines will give you a sense of urgency. This sense of urgency will provide more motivation for you to achieve your goal. While writing down or planning your goal, you must also include what you should have achieved by a certain date and time. Taking another look at our earlier specified goal; “I want to read more self development books this year by reading a book every month so I can boost my personal growth. By the end of this year, I should have read 12 books. I will aim to put one thing I learn each month into action.” This goal is time bound because it specifies exactly what you intend to achieve and when it should be achieved. When you are aware that you need to read at least 12 books a year, you are more likely to read even though life gets busy. However, if the goal merely required you to simply “read more books,” you might not feel encouraged to read when you feel tired or busy. Conclusion During the goal planning process, it is important to set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. The SMART plan is made up of a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

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