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Goal Setting the SMART Way

By Hanif Khaki

Goal setting is a task that is often overlooked until the New Year, when people decide to set resolutions. However, these resolutions are nothing more than wishes and are far from what we would call "goals". Hence these "so called" goals have very little chance of being realized. Just ask any fitness club owner when the greatest number of sign-ups occur and when the greatest number of drop-outs occur. Clearly, these "resolutions" don't work!

So just what does work?

When it matters and you really want to accomplish your task, you will want to use tried and true goal setting techniques. Among the more successful methods is the SMART method of setting goals. SMART=Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-sensitive.

Goal setting starts with making sure that your goals are indeed SMART. Let's examine this briefly shall we.

A goal cannot be something general. It must be substantial and detailed. The goal must answer the questions who, what, where, when, how, and why.

As an example, if your goal is to get a raise, this is not specific enough and doesn't meet our criteria. If your goal is to get a 10% raise within 6 months, this is specific.

Measurable means exactly that. Your goal must be able to be measured or quantified. In the above example, a raise is not quantifiable, but a 10% raise is definitely quantifiable because the 10% number can be counted and verified.

A goal is attainable when it is realistic or feasable given your skills and resources. If you wish to be a pilot in 2 days and you have no money and no one to teach you, this may be considered "unattainable".

Realistic refers to your goal being "reasonable", meaning you are not 35 years old and setting a goal to have 3 kids before you turn 36! Your goal must be reasonable or surely you will have no chance of achieving it under any circumstances. This doesn't mean that goals that are "impossible" to achieve should not be attempted. History has shown us that what seems "impossible" to achieve for most people is indeed quite possible for others to achieve under the proper circumstances.

Lastly, "time sensitive" refers to all goals having a completion date. This is what separates goals from activities, activities do not require an end date. This is a very important distinction between a goal and an activity. Using our previous example, obtaining a 10% salary raise during your lifetime is not the same as a 10% raise within 6 months.

We certainly hope the above information will aid you in setting and achieving more goals during your lifetime. For further information, be sure to check out the many goal setting resources available to you online. In fact, make that your first goal!

About The Author

Hanif Khaki is the acclaimed author of numerous business related articles and the founder of the popular business help site


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