How to Write SMART Goals

Feb 28, 2022

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How to Write SMART Goals

When it comes to getting goals, it can seem overwhelming to create an action plan or set goals. We use goals in all aspects, in our personal lives, work and school settings, and more. However, you can write your own SMART goals to get a head start in the year with critical thinking and strategy. 

Here we’re going to show you exactly what a SMART goal is, why they are so effective and how you can write SMART goals yourself. Let’s get started!

SMART Goal: What is it?

SMART is an acronym which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. With the five-point criteria, you get a brilliant template to write your goals and reach success. The reason is that your goals are clear and strategically planned, and the best part is they are attainable. 

Hence, using the writing technique does not leave you with unfocused objectives resulting in failure. On the contrary, when your goals meet the five criteria points, you have a head start to meet those goals and accomplish them. 

What Is The Correct Scope For A SMART Goal?

The SMART goals serve as a plan of action to follow in order to complete the tasks in front of you. Below are some examples of SMART goals.

  1. Increase our company’s sales by 20% over the next 8 months by expanding and growing our social media presence and advertising, success will be measured by seeing an increase in sales

  2. Make one 10-minute YouTube video per month with the purpose of increasing subscriber count by 5 each week, success will be measured by an increase in subscribers and viewers through consistent uploading

Where do you start?

We recommend you start by thinking about broad areas or your whole job related to your responsibilities and the results you want to achieve. Then, develop your goal statement for each general area. The important thing is to focus on the results of your task. These can include ongoing job responsibilities or new priorities, projects, or assignments. 

How to Write a SMART Goal 

You start your goals by following the SMART steps as follow:

  1. Be specific with your goals

  2. Make sure your goals are measurable

  3. Ensure that your goals are achievable

  4. Write relevant goals

  5. Most importantly, make sure your goals have a time-bound schedule

Great, now that you have your five main points, let's start writing your SMART goals.

1. Writing specific goals 

This is the first step to creating an attainable goal. To make it specific, you need to consider the quantifiable terms. Next, you need to determine what actions need to be taken to achieve the goal. Here are some examples:

Before applying a specific goal: "I want to improve my typing skills." – This is very vague and not specific to your needs

After applying a specific goal: "I want to increase my typing speed." – This is a goal that is a more specific and defined area of typing skills. 

The above examples are broad statements with different actions and approaches. Therefore, it helps to be specific by saying you want to learn the correct typing techniques. Alternatively, you want to type without looking at the keyboard. 

2. Take it a step further and make your goal measurable 

Great, you now have a purpose. You need to evaluate how you will take action to measure it. Hence, the next critical part of the SMART process is to look at how you can measure your progress to reach your goal. 

Examples of the measurable criteria: 

Before measurability: "I will increase my typing speed." – This is an excellent example of setting your goal before the measurable criteria as you’re not saying what you want to increase it from and to. 

After measurability: "I would like to increase my typing speed to 60 wpm." Now you have a specific goal that is measurable.  

Thus, you need to consider all your actions to achieve your goal. Hence, it can mean using an app to track how long it takes to reach your goal. 

3. Next, make your goal achievable

Now, you need to look if you can achieve your goal. First, think about how long it will take to achieve your goal. Then, reflect on the probable complications using the measurable methods to see if it is realistic. If your goal is realistic, then you will be more likely to achieve it!

Here is an example of the before and after effect when you apply your achievable criteria. 

Before achievability: "I will increase my typing speed from 40 wpm to 100 wpm." - This is setting a goal before the achievable criteria as making such a huge leap in writing speed is unrealistic. 

After achievability: "I would like to increase my typing speed of 40 words per minute up to 50 wpm initially, and 60 wpm. I can do this by making small increases with my typing every week." – This is your goal after using the achievable criteria. 

As you can see, measuring your goal makes it achievable as you can see how you will achieve it in your progress as you work. While you can achieve the 60 words per minute, you might not achieve it at the time frame you planned, and using the SMART criteria of trying each week makes it possible. 

4. Make your goal relevant

The relevant part of SMART goals relates to your motivation, why are you setting a goal? For our writing example here, it could be that you wish to receive good marks on your impending employee appraisal. 

If you set a goal with no motivation or one that is too vague, then you’ll lose sight of it very easily. Here is an example where the relevant trait comes in:

Before relevance: "I would like to develop my typing speed. I will set aside 20 minutes of my time every day to help organize my workspace." There simply isn’t a lot of motivation here. 

After relevance: "I would like to increase my typing speed from 40 wpm to 60 wpm by taking 20-minutes in my day to help me improve work efficiency and get higher marks on my employee appraisal." This is after using the relevant criteria as you have something to get motivated about. 

For that reason, you are taking relevant action to help you achieve your goal.  

5. Time to create a time-bound schedule

It means a timeline you set for yourself to work towards your goal and how long it will take to reach it. First, decide if this will be a short-term or long-term goal. Once you decide on the timeline, you can set a schedule to meet your deadlines to achieve your objective. On the other hand, remember to make it realistic to allow you to adjust them according to the SMART criteria. 

Before being time-bound: "I will increase my typing speed from 40 words per minute to 60 wpm by taking 20 minutes in my day to practice my typing using a timed test." This is an example of your goal before using time-bound criteria.

After being time-bound: "I will increase my typing speed from 40 words per minute to 60 wpm within four months by setting aside 20 minutes each day to practice. I will also take a speed test weekly to help measure my progress with the aim of improving my work efficiency and getting higher marks on my employee appraisal” This is your final goal after using the time-bound criteria. 

As you can see, your objective now fits all the principles in writing a SMART goal as it shows a specific objective. What's more, it is outlined to measure your progress, making it achievable and relevant to improve your desired skill. Lastly, you have set up a timeline to reach and complete your goal.

Tips on How to Execute Your SMART Goals

  1. You can start by writing your goals down, as it helps to cement your goals to fine-tune them as needed. If you are not sure where to start, looking for a template online is always good.

  2. Keep checking your progress to see how far you are from reaching your goals. To keep track of your goals, you can find many project management tools to help. 

  3. Get yourself an accountability buddy to keep you motivated and stay on track. It can be a friend, family member, or someone you work with. 

  4. Lastly, celebrate your wins when reaching your goals, whether big or small.

Does Writing SMART Goals Work? 

Coming up with and following through with SMART goals does work, as long as you do it properly. A 2015 study conducted at Dominican University found that, “more than 70 percent of the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend reported successful goal achievement (completely accomplished their goal or were more than half way there), compared to 35 percent of those who kept their goals to themselves, without writing them down.”

The important thing is not to set unrealistic goals with short frames and loads of variables you cannot measure. When you formulate your plans using the SMART criteria, it helps to give you a head start. However, you still need to work towards the goal yourself to achieve it. 

Final Thoughts

Great, now that you know how to set up your SMART goals, it is time to put them to practice. Setting short to long-term plans for work or your personal life starting with the SMART concept, is a great way to achieve your goals.

If you and your team want to improve your goal setting and tracking, using GetSpeedBack is a great way to get started. Not only can you manage goals for you and your team, but you can also transform your performance management process along the way. Automate, save time, and share feedback easier than ever before with GetSpeedBack.

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