Setting working goals for the new year is a common occurrence, however, many struggle with setting attainable and realistic goals that can be properly measured, particularly over the timeframe of a year-long period.
SMART goals are an effective tool to help your targets be as focused and productive as possible. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time. Applying these criteria to workplace-based goals can help to realise and achieve them more effectively.
But how do exactly do you do this?
What do you want to achieve? Make your goal as specific as possible – for example, if you want to be more productive at work, then consider how specifically you can do this. This may mean your goal changes slightly – so, instead of saying you’re going to be more productive at work, you could identify a specific way to be more productive, and focus on setting that as a goal instead. A great tip to ensure that you’re being precise in your goal-setting is to consider the six "Ws" – Who, What, When, Where, Which and Why.
Make it M"easurable
Set out the metrics you want to use to measure both the success of meeting your goals. You could also decide to check in on your progress on a regular basis.
Ensure it is "A"chievable
There is no point in setting a goal that will be completely out of reach. Be realistic about what you can achieve within a year at work – and make allowances for other projects or unforeseen responsibilities potentially getting in the way.
Always be "R"elevant
Does your goal make sense within your wider plans for your business or job? Is achieving your goal going to be a positive, and move your work plans forward this year? Make sure the answer to these questions is yes, otherwise trying to achieve your goal might not be worth your time and effort.
Think about "T"ime
If you’ve set goal (or goals) for 2018, it is probably best to try and achieve them within the calendar year. Think about how long it might take you to achieve your goals, and as always, be realistic – include extra time if you need to, or consider scaling back your goal or the level at which you expect to reach it, in order to give yourself space.
After all, while it’s always worthwhile to aim high, you never want to aim completely out of reach.