The first step in setting smart objectives that you can live by is identifying an achievable result that is meaningful to you. Then, define the goal in broad enough terms that there can be many paths to achieving it. Next, scope out objectives that put you on a path toward achieving your goal and ensure that these objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
Because the SMART objectives are tangible, timely, and validatable, they will be easier to live by and act on than the broader, less specific goal.
Here’s how you can do it.
Start by Setting a Goal
What is it that you ultimately want to achieve? Do you want to learn a language? Do you want to improve your finances? Whatever your goal, write it down. In big, bold letters in the middle of the page, state your goal.
Identify Objectives with the Goal in Mind
Next, brainstorm objectives that will lead to reaching your goal. Don’t know where to start? Research what others are doing. Look for people who have already reached your goal or who exemplify the reality of your goal.
Write these 6-10 objectives on the same piece of paper as your goal. Place the objectives equally spaced around the goal with an arrow pointing from each objective toward the goal. Use this diagram as a visualization, like a mood board, of what you want to achieve and how you will get there.
Execute Your SMART Objectives
Organize your objectives according to a SMART analysis. Follow the SMART acronym to give your list of objectives structure. SMART stands for
- SPECIFIC — this is the who, what, why, when and where of your objective.
- MEASURABLE — this is the how much that helps you identify an end point.
- ACHIEVABLE — this lets you identify the resources—people, financial, tools, etc.–you may need to help you reach your goal.
- REALISTIC — this is your assessment of the relevancy of the objective. This is where you ask yourself if the objective makes sense in light of everything else that is going on.
- TIMELY — this is when you place time constraints on your objective.
So, you will do a SMART analysis for each of your objectives. If your objective still makes sense after the SMART analysis, you keep it. If it doesn’t, then eliminate it from the list.
Commit yourself to accomplish your SMART objectives. Ask someone on your team or in your life to hold you accountable to achieving them. And use your SMART goal visualization board to remind you of your commitment to your objectives and to track your progress toward reaching your goal.