Monday, July 8, 2019

How to Write Smart Goals

Nikola Njegovan, Sr. Director, Salesforce

Sometimes we need a reminder of things we already know. I can’t stress how important it is to go through exercises that clarify why you are doing what you are doing. There are more than enough people in the world to discourage you from going after the things that you want. You shouldn’t have to fight yourself as well. One of the exercises that I use on a regular basis is setting SMART goals. I come back to them every day to remind myself what my focus should be. Like the way I remind myself of my measurable goals, it's always good to remind others about the things that really make sense. Learning how to write SMART goals is simple and can be set by learning what SMART stands for:


A goal is a defined target that gives you clarity, direction, motivation, and focus towards what you want. Your goal statement needs to reflect this. The goal needs to be significant enough to inspire you to move toward the life you want. It can be either towards something you want or away from something you don’t want.  If your goal statement is vague, you will find it difficult to achieve. A goal is not a vision. It’s more concrete than that and you should treat it as such.


It’s easier to track progress against measurable goals.  Some goals are easier to measure, such as weight loss, running speed, and income. Others are difficult as there might not be any apparent quantities that define it. In these cases, you might find it necessary to develop a ranking system or a measure of time spent on the goal. Measuring your progress helps you determine if you are going in the right direction or if you need to make any necessary adjustments along the way. This is one of the most important parts of the process and is really a self-reflection exercise.


It’s time here to stop being abstract and dreamy about what you want. In this part you need to be able to have a measurable goal that you can strategize and plan for. You don’t need to know all the details at this point. However, you do need to know when you start working out your plan that your goal is achievable. It’s most important (and far more attainable) for you to create goals that are under your direct control. Being the best actor in the world is not a goal, it’s a vision. Use your concrete goals to move toward your vision, not the other way around.


This goes back to making sure that your SMART goal or objective is actionable by you and can be realistically achieved. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you can make a plan without ever having to change it. Keeping your goals realistic means making them small and achievable without being too dependent on factors that are out of your direct control.


One of the most difficult parts for a creative is to bring a time-bound aspect to their SMART methodology. In order to do this, you need to make sure that you have a deadline for yourself. But you can’t rush the creative process you say?! I know, I know. Nevertheless, you need to make a clear difference between your vision, goals, and tasks required to achieve the life you really want. Now get out there and create something!