Setting goals is important because it gives you direction and helps you focus your efforts on what’s most important.
Are you someone who wants to achieve a lot of things, but you just don’t know where to get started?
Without goals, it’s easy to get sidetracked or lose motivation, and you may not make as much progress as you would like.
Setting goals also helps you measure your progress and stay on track, and it provides a sense of accomplishment when you achieve them.
Learn how to set SMART goals, to help you be more successful in your personal and professional life.
What are SMART goals?
Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives that you set for yourself or your organization.
The acronym “SMART” is a widely-used framework for setting goals, and each of the five criteria represents an important aspect of goal-setting.
- Specific: A goal should be specific and clearly defined, so that it is clear what you are trying to achieve.
- Measurable: A goal should be measurable, so that you can track your progress and determine whether you are on track to achieve it.
- Attainable: A goal should be attainable, so that it is realistic and achievable given your current resources and abilities.
- Relevant: A goal should be relevant and aligned with your overall vision and values, so that it is meaningful and important to you.
- Time-bound: A goal should have a specific time frame, so that you have a deadline to work towards and a sense of urgency to take action.
By setting SMART goals, you can make sure your goals are well-defined and focused, and that you have a plan to achieve them.
There’s no point having a goal, if you don’t have a plan.
They provide a clear direction and vision for what you want to achieve, and help you focus your efforts and resources on what’s most important.
Goals can be short-term, medium-term, or long-term, and can relate to any aspect of your life or work, including your career, education, health, or relationships.
How to set a SMART goal
Is this your first time making a SMART goal?
Follow these steps:
- Start with a clear and specific objective. What do you want to achieve? Be specific and avoid vague or general statements.
- Make sure your goal is measurable. How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Identify specific criteria or metrics that you can use to track your progress.
- Ensure that your goal is attainable. Is your goal realistic given your current resources and abilities? If necessary, break your goal down into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Make sure your goal is relevant. Why is this goal important to you? How does it align with your overall vision and values?
- Set a specific time frame for your goal. When do you want to achieve your goal? Make sure your deadline is realistic, but also provides a sense of urgency to take action.
Once you have set your goal, develop a plan to achieve it.
This may include identifying the resources you need, setting milestones and deadlines, and creating action steps to move you closer to your goal.
It’s also important to regularly review your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your plan.
What should I do if I fall behind?
However, goals are just goals. There’s no shame if you find life getting in the way, and you fall behind.
If you fall behind in a plan or goal, there are several things you can do to get back on track:
- Take a step back and assess the situation. Why did you fall behind? Is there anything you can do to overcome any obstacles or challenges that you faced?
- Adjust your plan or goal as needed. Is your plan or goal still realistic and achievable given your current situation? If not, consider modifying your plan or goal to make it more attainable.
- Prioritize your tasks and focus on the most important ones. Which tasks or activities will have the biggest impact on your progress? Focus on these first, and try to complete them as soon as possible.
- Seek support and assistance from others. Do you need help from colleagues, friends, or family members to get back on track? Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- Stay positive and motivated. It can be easy to become discouraged when you fall behind, but try to stay positive and focused on your goal. Remember that setbacks are common, and that you can still achieve your goal if you remain determined and take action.
Some tools to help you stay on track
Here’s our favourite productivity tools to help you keep on track of your goals and personal projects.
- Monday.com — Highly effective teams choose monday.com to manage their work.
- Project Express App — Over 35,000 people worldwide trust Project Express to manage projects, at work and at home.
- Wrike — Only Wrike’s work management platform gives your team full visibility and control over all your tasks and projects.
- Dropbox.com — Dropbox helps you simplify your workflow. So you can spend more time in your flow.
- Any.do — Trusted by +30m people and teams worldwide to stay organised and get more done.
- Remember The Milk — Remember The Milk is the popular to-do list that’s everywhere you are: from your phone, to the web, to your Google apps, and more. Used by millions worldwide.
- Skillshare — Skillshare is a learning community for creators. Anyone can take an online class, watch video lessons, create projects, and even teach a class themselves.
- Intercom — Intercom helps over 25,000 global organizations deliver better customer support via personalized conversations and automated support.
- Notion — We’re more than a doc. Or a table. Customize Notion to work the way you do.
- Toodledo — Toodledo is a popular and powerful online productivity tool. Manage your to-do list, take notes, track habits, and organize ideas into outlines and lists.
- Microsoft Excel — Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet application that is part of the Microsoft Office suite of products.
- Creately — Creately is the world’s 1st work management platform that runs on a smart visual canvas.
- Nozbe — Best personal and team productivity collaboration tool. Use Nozbe – task management software and increase productivity.
- Sembly AI — Sembly records, transcribes and generates smart meeting summaries with meeting minutes.
- Microsoft To-Do — Microsoft To Do
- ClickUp™ — ClickUp’s mission is to make the world more productive – Tasks, Docs, Goals, and Chat.
- SmartSuite — Plan, track, and manage any type of work.
- WPS Office — WPS Office is a cloud-based suite of productivity tools and includes apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, plus cloud storage and file sharing.
- Citrix Podio — Build powerful low-code business solutions to customize work and communication. Start for free.
- Glide — GlideApps is a platform that enables users to quickly and easily create mobile apps from Google Sheets.