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How to Set SMART Goals

January 20, 2021

By Linda Olejniczak, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Ready to join those elite 8% of people who successfully hit their goals? Where do you want to see your department at the end of 2021? Writing your goals does not have to be difficult. Base them on intention. If circumstances change, simply modify your goals.

Having a set of SMART goals follows a methodology that outlines specific actionable steps to make goals more achievable.

  • S – Specific: Be clear in exactly what you want to accomplish and how.
  • M – Measurable: Think about how you will be able to track progress toward the goal.
  • A – Achievable: Be honest with yourself and set a goal that is challenging yet doable.
  • R – Relevant: Ensure this goal aligns with your broader, long-term goals.
  • T – Time-Bound: Pick a date you plan to achieve your goal by.

Make it Actionable.  Anyone should be able to read your goal and understand exactly what you will be doing.

Assign an Accountable Owner. Many people may contribute work to your goal, but there should only be one owner—one person who is ultimately accountable for the priority’s success.

Establish Timing. When setting priorities always include a start and end date and be realistic about what you can accomplish in each timeframe.

Clearly Define Success. Determine clear success criteria for your priority so you know what it looks like to achieve the goal.

Connect to Why. Understanding how this goal fits into the big picture is important and will help you stay motivated.

Break it Down Action steps will help you with time management and allow you to carve out the time and effort needed to achieve your goal.

These tips can help you become part of the 8%:

  • Keep it visible. This helps you remain accountable to your stated goal.
  • Status it weekly. How are you doing based on the success criteria you set out for yourself?
  • Review often. If you can see that you aren’t on track what else can you do to move forward? Do you need to enlist some help?
  • Be ready to pivot.  As 2020 proved, our goals may change. Chances are, they will … and you will be ready for them! Just be prepared to learn from what did not work and move on to a new goal.
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