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A fun look at S.M.A.R.T. Goals

I firmly believe that if you did nothing more than write goals down, you’ll be exponentially more effective at accomplishing them.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals Explained

But you can speed up the process by creating a road map for each goal you want to accomplish. One of the most common ways to teach the components of effective goal setting is using the acronym S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific: Get really specific about what you want to accomplish. A vague “earn more money” isn’t enough. How much? By when?
  • Measurable: How will you measure this? By gross income? Net income? Volume of sales?
  • Achievable: You may want to raise $1,000,000, but is that really achievable? All goals should stretch you. But SMART goals are designed to help you make achievable steps rather than miraculous leaps.
  • Results oriented: Focus on results. Enough said.
  • Timely: When is the goal to be accomplished? How regularly will you check in on the goal?

Variations on the SMART Acronym

Years ago, I came across this fun information from my friend Sara Hurd.

  • S Specific | Simple | Single
  • M Measurable | Meaningful
  • A Achievable | Acceptable | Attainable | Actionable | Action-oriented | Adjustable | As-if-now | Agreed | Action plan | Achieved
  • R Relevant | Realistic | Reachable | Rewarding | Results-oriented
    Result-based | Reasonable
  • T Time-dimensioned | Time frame | Tangible | Trackable | Time-boxed | Timely | Time-sensitive | Time-stamped | Time-bound | Time-based | Timed
    Time-dated | Timetable | Time

Robert Rubin, Assistant Professor of Management at DePaul University, found the following additional variations in his research:

  • S Specific with a stretch | Sensible | Significant
  • M Motivating
  • A Accountable | Agreed-upon | Assignable
  • R Reviewable | Relative | Relevant to a mission
  • T Timelines | Time-specific | Time-scaled | Time-constrained | Time-phased | Time-limited | Time-driven | Time-related | Time and toward what you want

Sara also found people advocating SMARTER goals:
E– Extending (the goal should stretch the performer’s capabilities) and – Rewarding
OR E– Evaluate and – Re-do
OR – Evaluate and R– Review
OR – Exclusive and R– Representative

However you explain it, be SMART!

No matter what words you use, be sure to follow these guidelines in setting your goals!


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