Many goals fail because they aren’t clear, don’t seem important or aren’t likely to happen when you need them to. The solution is to use SMART criteria to make goal setting, well, smarter.
SMART goals use a mnemonic acronym to guide the setting of objectives:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Achievable
- R = Relevant
- T = Time-Bound
The first use of SMART criteria to describe goal-setting occured in the November 1981 issue of Management Review in George Doran’s article, “There’s a SMART Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.”
Doran wrote that objectives should be:
- Specific – They should target a specific area for improvement. Exactly what do you want to accomplish? Who, what, when and where?
- Measurable – They should quantify or suggest an indicator of progress. How will you track your progress? How much and how many?
- Achievable – They should aim for a realistically achievable result. Do you have what you need to achieve your goal? Is your goal too challenging? Is it too easy?
- Relevant – They should be goals that matter. Does your goal matter to your supervisor, team and organization? Is your goal aligned with organizational vision and values?
- Time-Bound – They should specify when the result can be achieved. When will you achieve your goal? What is your time limit?
How do your 2016 goals stack up against the SMART standard?
Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It’s a fact: SMART goals make goal setting smarter.
And that’s the Big Idea.
- The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling
- Goals! by Brian Tracy
- “Golden Rules of Goal Setting” on Mind Tools
- “5 Reasons Why Short-Term Goals Matter” on Serve. Grow. Lead.
- “Use Medium Term Goals to Stay on Target” on Serve. Grow. Lead.
- Ministry Action Plans
“SMART Criteria,” Accessed August 20, 2015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria.