You probably have heard the term SMART goals before, but what does it mean? This handout is a handy reference while you are setting personal goals to make sure they are SMART.
S stands for Specific. We want to be as specific as possible when setting our goals. This sets the stage to help make sure our goals also meet the criteria for the rest of the acronym. Think about if you were describing your goal to a friend or coworker, would they know what exactly your goal is?
M stands for Measurable. If you can’t measure your goal, how will you know if you have achieved it? Sometimes we set lofty goals for ourselves like ‘be a better person’ or ‘be more active.’ These are admirable goals, but when exactly are you going to be able to say you’ve achieved your goal? One of the most rewarding parts of goal setting is achieving that goal so make sure you can reward yourself once your goal is accomplished.
A stands for Achievable. For goal setting, it’s good to be ambitious, but make sure your goal is realistic and achievable. If you set yourself up for failure, you may feel demoralized and give up on your goals altogether. In general, it’s better to err on the side of caution with goal setting than try to stretch yourself too far. If you go above and beyond your goal, then you can give yourself a gold star. However, if you fall short of your goal, it’s often hard to keep going. Especially if you are just starting out, go small and build up over time.
R stands for Relevant. Make sure your goal is relevant to what you want to achieve, including thinking about long-term goals. Sometimes we can get a little side-tracked, so it is always good to take a moment and reflect on whether this goal is relevant to what you are wanting to achieve.
T stands for Time-based. Lastly, your goal should have a timeline of when you are hoping to accomplish it. Without some sort of timeframe, it’s easy to procrastinate and push off the goal to a later time. Putting a deadline for your goal helps make sure your goal is Specific and Measurable. Another tip is to not set goals too far in the future. It’s fine to have long-term goals, but harder to motivate yourself in the short-term to complete larger goals. Consider how your larger goal can be broken down into something specific that you can complete in the next week or so.
These are just some important parts of goal setting, make sure to check out the other Goal Setting worksheets and handouts on the website. Click the image above or the link below for access to a pdf version of this SMART goals handout.