A long time ago, I learned that to achieve my goals that I should set SMART ones. For those who don’t know, SMART is an acronym for:
Although at the time I was told that the R was for Realistic, though I could not understand if something was attainable, wouldn’t it also be realistic? I later found another definition that gave the R as Relevant, which I found made far more sense, so I stuck with that one.
Still, I found other definitions of SMART, such as one where the R was realistic, but the A was Action-Oriented, which resolves the conflict between Attainable and Realistic, but changes it a bit, right?
Then there’s another I found where the S stood for Strategic, while the R stood for Results-Oriented. Which, again, makes sense, but is also a much different interpretation. Guess there was some switching around with the Strategic with Relevant, and Specific with Results-Oriented.
In all, they all are meant to do the same thing, help ensure a goal is appropriately set so that there is no ambiguity in what needs to be done. It would be nice if we can all come together and get a standard definition.
But then I came across this paper – Making SMART Goals Smarter – that talks about taking SMART goals and turning them into SMARTER objectives. The idea is that goals are general, while objectives are more specific. What you do is take your SMART goals and create several SMARTER objectives that move you closer to the goal.
So you end up with objectives that are:
- Specific – clearly state the objective to be met.
- Measurable – quantify the objective in a way that it can be measured.
- Achievable – the objective must be achievable with the given time, skills and resources.
- Relevant – the objective must align with the strategy, whether personal or organisational.
- Time-Bound – there must be some sort of timeframe for the objective to be met.
- Engaging – there must be some sense of ownership for the objective, as it’s important for you.
- Rewarding – the accomplishment of the objective must feel rewarding in some way or bring a sense of accomplishment.
I like this.
What I usually do is take my big goals and break them down into smaller SMART goals – and keep breaking them down until I have some small actionable items to do. But I still have some challenges getting them done. Perhaps those last two items may help me move the needle forward.