A few months back I was looking for an effective way to create a one-year and a five-year plan for myself as a means to set attainable personal goals.
I was tired of coming up with the idea of doing something with no actionable plan to achieve it. I would say to myself, “I want to achieve x,y, z,” but had no plan of action. Many meaningful life goals require more thought and attention to details than simply naming them.
It was at this point I did some research and found a system that helped me better organize my thoughts, create a plan of action and feel like I could attain my personal goals.
Setting SMART Goals
Want to feel smart? Try setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.
S.M.A.R.T. is a mnemonic device for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.” Created back in the early-80’s by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham, S.M.A.R.T. goal creation started off as a business tool that worked its way into personal usage over the years.
Each word acts as a writing prompt, a means to get you thinking about each aspect of the overall goal. When it comes time to figure out these five elements to your overall goal, you answer the question each word presents. The question might look something like this:
- Specific: can you be clear & exact about your goal?
- Measurable: how can you quantifiably assess your progress within your goal?
- Achievable: how realistic is this goal and is it attainable?
- Relevant: do you have other goals and how does this goal relate to them? How well does this goal relate to your current needs/desires?
- Timely: what timeline do you see yourself achieving this goal?
For a really clear explanation for each word, Mind Tools has a fantastic page breaking each word down with clear examples to get you started.