S.M.A.R.T. vs. S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goal Setting

For many of us, September is the new January when it comes to career and business planning. The seasons change and we head in to winter; kids go back to school and people begin to think about what is next? Of course, I make my living supporting people with career or business goals (and love doing it!) but also deeply believe that people should understand how to set and track their own goals. You may have worked with the concept of setting S.M.A.R.T goals in the past. But in case you haven’t, the acronym refers to:

Specific: The more specific you are in defining your goal, the easier it will be to chart an action plan. An easy way to ensure a goal is specific is to use the “6 Ws” as a means to qualify your goal: Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish? Where will this take place? When will this take place? Which constraints or obstacles may be involved? Why would this goal enhance my life?

Measurable: The easiest way to ensure that a goal is measurable is to ask yourself, “How will I know my goal is accomplished?” Give quantities, schedules, dates etc.

Attainable: Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. However, also resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Try to strike the right balance between attainable/challenging and out of reach/unrealistic when you are charting out your goals.

Relevant: A simple way to ensure that the goal you set is relevant to you, it’s essential to ask, “Does this goal reflect my core values?”

Time Frame: The difference between a goal and an activity is that goals have deadlines. Set specific dates by which certain things must be accomplished in order to achieve your goal.

To make the goal setting process “smarter”, I have added the next two criteria:

Extended: The goal should stretch your capabilities and allow/empower you to grow as a person.

Rewarding: Know, and therefore be able to anticipate, what rewards await you as a result of completing your goal(s).

So, in honor of the season of planning set some S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals and see what happens. Happy new year!