Be SMART about your goals

It’s the holiday season. You’re sitting around enjoy dinner with your family. Dad is chowing down on his turkey. Mom is gossiping about the neighbor across the street. Your brother can’t manage to take his hands off of the DS, and your sister is trying to be sneaky about texting. You’re enjoying being home, savoring the emotions, and then out of no where, grandma turns to you and asks you those 10 forbidden words: “So, what are you going to do with your degree?” And just like that, all eyes are on you.

What could really help you in that situation is figured out your goals. Your goals will give you something to work toward, something to look forward to, and something to keep you motivated during tough times. When you keep your mind focused on the end goal, you are a lot more likely to accomplish the goal. What you may think are doors being opened will be your subconscious paving the way towards your final destination.

Now that the year is over, what better time than now to set those goals for the upcoming year. Using the S.M.A.R.T. goal process can help you create a successful path.

SPECIFIC – Make sure the goal you set is as clear, focused, and well-defined as you can get it. It usually answers the four W’s:

  • What do i want to accomplish?
  • Who is involved?
  • Where will it take place?
  • Why do I want this?

Example: I want to get my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from My University.

MEASURABLE – In order to determine how successful you are in obtaining your goals, you need to establish some sort of measurable criteria, such as timelines, dates, dollar amounts, etc. This will allow you to actually track your results to see how much more you have to meet your target. You’ll want to consider the following questions:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will i know what it is accomplished?

Example: I am going to get my Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from My University by May 2016.

ATTAINABLE – When setting goals, you want to make sure that they are both attainable and also realistic. Setting your expectations too high for too short of a time will leave you feeling defeated. But, setting goals that stretch you a bit, but you can really accomplish if you really put your mind to it will motivate and energize you. Attainable goals typically answer the questions:

  • How can the goal be accomplished?
  • How realistic is the goal based on what I have going on currently?

Example: I will get a job in the accounting industry within 6 months after I graduate from My University.

REALISTIC – The next part of the goal has to be something that you are both willing and able to work toward. Can you answer ‘yes’ to the following questions?

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Does this match my needs?

Example: I will put in 3 applications a day from now on until I am hired on at a company.

TIMELY – Your goal has to have a starting point and an ending point. A time-bound goal ensures that you are constantly checking the progress on your goal. Focus on answering the following questions:

  • When?
  • What can I do six months from now?
  • What can I do six weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

When you are developing your goals, be sure you keep them in a positive light, are constantly referring back to them or looking at them, are personal to you, and have some variable of flexibility.

What sort of goals have you set for yourself? Where you able to attain them in the time frame you allocated? Did you have to change them?