I had the opportunity to be a contributing blogger for Jobs.ai this month and here’s what I had to share …
A S.M.A.R.T. Vision Of Success
What is your vision of success? It’s different for each of us at different times of our life. Right now your vision may be getting a job or having a flexible work schedule or going back to school. Five years from now it may be different. But, whatever your dream, setting SMART goals will help you make it come true.
Many use the SMART acronym to explain goal setting. Each one uses a slightly different set of criteria. In this case, S.M.A.R.T. refers to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Framed.
Specific: Goals need to be something specific. Often we set goals that are not precise, which makes it nearly impossible to judge whether we hit them or not. For example, a statement like “I will lose weight” is too vague. How will you know if and when you’ve reached your goal? Saying, “I will lose five pounds in the next 30 days” or “I will lose two inches from my waist” is more specific. At the end of the month it will be a simple matter of weights and measures: take your measurements and get on the scale.
Measurable: Goals need to be measurable. For example, many of us want to increase our number of contacts. But, “making new contacts” is an ambiguous statement. A clearer objective is “I will attend four networking events each month and try to connect with one person at each.” Another goal might be “I will sign up for Twitter and participate in one Twitter chat each week for the next four weeks.” It’s a simple, concrete goal. This makes it easy to track your results.
Achievable: Goals need to be reasonable and achievable for you. For example, in most cases, transitioning to a new career in 30 days is unrealistic. Often your success or failure depends on setting practical goals. A more practical goal might be, “Going back to school in the next six months” or “Going on one informational interview a month for the next six months” is more reasonable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are out of reach.
Realistic: Goals need to be realistic. When we’re children we believe that we can do anything. And we certainly have a variety of options. As adults we learn that while we can have a lot, we can’t have it all at the same time. It’s important to honestly evaluate yourself. Do you have the ability and commitment to make your dream come true? Or does it need a little adjustment? For example, you may want to go back to school. But, are you willing to spend your weekends doing homework? Be honest with yourself.
Time Framed: Goals need to have a time frame. Having a set amount of time will give your goals structure. For example, many of us want to find a new job or start our own business. Some people spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do, someday. But, without an end date there is no sense of urgency, no reason to take any action today. Having a specific time frame gives you the impetus to get started. It also helps you monitor your progress. If you think developing a set of written S.M.A.R.T. goals is a waste of time, think again.
Setting goals is more than deciding what you want to do. It involves figuring out what you need to do to reach your goal. And knowing how long it will take you to get there. Then you need to create a plan for every step of the way. Keep the S.M.A.R.T. acronym in mind to help you remember the basics. Invest the time to translate this process to fit your needs and work towards your S.M.A.R.T. vision of success.