Smart Goals: The Best Goal Setting Practices for Success
Today, being successful often comes down to setting and reaching goals. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, a planner or a list maker, the ability to set smart goals is crucial to your well-being. Whether you’re looking to improve your life in general or simply looking for ways to better focus on specific things, smart goals are the answer. Not only do they help you reach your short-term goals but they also help you think long term as well.
What Are Smart Goals?
A smart goal is one that has a specific, measurable outcome. This means you’ll know exactly what you need to do to reach your goal, and how much time you’re willing to invest over a certain period of time. To create a smart goal, identify your goal and break it into steps or milestones. Write down the main points that compose the steps or milestones and review them often as they may change over time. The most important part of creating a smart goal is tracking your progress towards achieving it. When you track your progress, you will be able to see the progress in real-time and adjust accordingly when needed.
To set the perfect goal, start by setting it up in a way that’s specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and time-bound. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon in 2 years, make sure you pick an attainable date and don’t break it down into smaller milestones. You can also see how these different elements come together with our favorite SMART Goal setting examples below:
- Specific: The specific way to reach my goal
- Measurable: How I will measure success
- Attractive: How will this benefit me?
- Realistic: Is this challenging enough?
- Time Bound: How long will I work on achieving this goal?
Why Is Setting Smart Goals Important?
Setting smart goals and achieving them is important because it helps you take the first step in building a better life. Imagine, for example, if you are struggling with your school or work performance. If you had set a goal of improving your grades by 10 percent, for example, this would help you focus on what was most important to you. And, as you reached that goal, it would give you confidence in yourself to continue carrying out the task towards other personal goals. Setting smart goals also helps you think long term. Being able to clearly define short-term and long-term goals can help guide your decisions as they relate to what’s important to your life overall. For example: If a friend has asked you to go see her play her first Shakespearean production next week but all of your days are booked up with work commitments, setting smart goals may help show why seeing the play isn’t possible for now but could be in the future when time allows. Additionally, setting smart goals helps guide and motivate your decision making process – which is absolutely crucial when it comes to finding success. Knowing what’s most important will keep you focused on those things instead of being overwhelmed by everything else going on around you – which can lead to procrastination and eventually failure at reaching any of your goals. Now that we’ve shown why setting smart goals is so important, let’s talk about how we can actually do this successfully (and effectively).
Develop a Personal Mission Statement
The first step to setting a goal is to establish a personal mission statement. This is the guiding principle behind your entire life, and it should be based on what you want out of life. If you don’t have a personal mission statement, ask yourself what’s most important to you; this will help guide your goal setting process. Here are some examples of personal missions statements:
• I am determined to live each day to the best of my ability.
• I am a successful investor in the making.
• Every day I create success opportunities for myself by taking smart risks and being creative in everything I do.
Define Your Why
First, it starts with defining your why. Your why is the driving force behind what you’re doing, and it can help you stay motivated. Some examples of your why are “I want to work towards a career in public relations,” or “I want to be able to afford my dream house one day.” Once you have an idea of what your why is, try breaking down that goal into specific steps. In other words, if you want to be a public relations professional, define what exactly that means for your career and how that looks on paper. Next, think about the different types of people who might be interested in pursuing a career in public relations. You might target college students who are looking for something new after graduation or people who are more interested in the social side of the industry rather than publicity-driven events.
Take a Sabbatical Day Challenge
One of the most creative and insightful ways to challenge yourself is by taking a Sabbatical Day Challenge. This type of challenge allows you to take a break from your everyday life and focus on something different for one day. It can be as ambitious as attempting to start a new business or as simple as trying something completely different in your fields of expertise. Imagine if you could make new friends, get a tan in the sun, attend a networking event, or learn a language in just one day. Not only would this give you an opportunity to test out skills that may have been dormant in your life–it would also help you feel more fulfilled and less stressed while giving you time away from your favorite tasks and responsibilities. The key is picking one goal or many goals that will unleash your creativity without being too difficult or stressful to accomplish. You can even do two days if you’re feeling ambitious!
Organize a Free Dinner for Goal Setters
A goal setting example that may be good for you is organizing a free dinner for your closest friends and family. This idea can be useful to anyone looking to get their social circle involved with goal setting and accomplishing their goals too. This could be an amazing way to celebrate the beginning of a new year, as well as start the year off on the right foot. The best tip we have for this example is to make sure you communicate your idea in advance and decide who will provide what so you don’t end up with somebody taking care of all the cooking, cleaning, and other tasks. You also want to organize a time that is mutually convenient for everybody in case they don’t want to stay long or take care of other tasks afterward; it’s important that everyone feels included in this process!
Ask Yourself Uncomfortable Questions
Have you ever noticed that when you have a goal, it can sometimes be easy to get distracted by other things? Like, maybe you start thinking about how much money you could make if money were not an issue. Or how great it would be to live in another country. That’s because, as humans, we often allow our goals to take over our lives. And while these distractions may seem harmless and do help us accomplish the goals we want to achieve, they can actually take away from our overall happiness. So instead of taking on other tasks, try asking yourself some uncomfortable questions that may help you find your motivation again. Maybe ask yourself what is the most important thing for me in life? Or what am I really scared of? These questions will help you prioritize your goals and give them more weight than distractions that are easy to ignore.
Identify Someone Who Can Mentor You
If you don’t know where to start or what you should be focusing on, it can help to identify someone who is better at the activity than you. Look for a mentor who has expertise in the area you want to learn, and then get them involved in your goal setting process. They can share their wisdom with you, offer advice and guidance as you progress, and point out areas of improvement so that you can continue to grow. With this strategy, it doesn’t matter if it’s someone who is already successful in the field or just an expert in general because even an outsider will have valuable insight into the task at hand.
What Are Your Long-term Personal Goals?
In order to make progress, you first have to define exactly what you want to accomplish. That’s why it’s so important to set a long-term goal or personal mission statement. You may want to make this statement something that is very specific and not too general like “I want my life to be more fulfilled” or “I want my family and friends to love me the way I deserve.” A personal goal helps you stay on track by providing direction and motivation. It also gives your life meaning and purpose. These goals can provide an actionable framework for how you should spend your time each day, where you should focus your energy, and what actions will lead you closer to accomplishing them.
What Are Your Professional Goals?
What are your professional goals? These can be anything from reaching a certain level of income to improving your leadership skills. Your goals should challenge you and push you to grow in multiple facets of your life. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to goal setting, so find the one that is most beneficial for you and go from there.
What Are Your Short-term Goals?
If your short-term goals are to make friends, learn a new skill, or just get out more often, then you may need to try goal setting in a different way. Creating a personal board of goals with specific dates can help you stay focused on what’s important and avoid the temptation of getting stuck in the “what if” phase of goal setting.
Keep a Goal Journal
A goal journal is a unique way to develop goals. It helps you to brainstorm and visualize your dreams. When you use a goal journal, you can include anything from an image of yourself living in your dream home or career to a list of things that could get in the way of achieving that goal. You can use a goal journal for every aspect of your life including personal, professional, academic, and creative goals. For instance, you could create a family goal journal where you write down the date when your children will graduate college or make it to their wedding day.