Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Having interests or our eyes on a hobby or a project is a great way to expand our skillsets and knowledge. They become challenging, however, when we create goals that fall short of our expectations. Luckily, George T Doran saw an opportunity in 1981 to make a system to create goals that help us succeed with our visions of the future. He was the former Director of Corporate Planning in the Washington Water Power Company and created the S.M.A.R.T. way to create goals.
S.M.A.R.T. has a lot of different meanings behind each letter, which can be switched out to better suit the goal. In general, the s stands for specific, or well-defined, and clear statements. M is for measurement or some quantifiable idea within the goal that could measure the progress towards achievement. A is for achievable, the goal should be something that is not over-ambitious in comparison to the resources available. The R is relevant, sometimes switched to reasonable, which is to push the goal to be something that is within your interests (not too far-fetched) and is not impossible, closely tied in with the previous letter. Lastly, the T is time-bound, so there is an acknowledgment of some kind of timeline to better spread out the work.
The reason good goals are accomplished and poorly-written ones fail is because the writer themselves are unsure of what they want. An idea needs to be thought out before a goal is set. What is the objective: the final result? Who is going to join in the effort? How do you know what progress it’s at? Is the time given to the project enough to get it done? These are just some of the questions that should be asked when creating a S.M.A.R.T. goal.
A good example would be: I will do 30 minutes of reading for English class every evening this year. It is specific, the work is for English class. It is measurable, the time can be set and show the progress. It is achievable: let’s be honest, 30 minutes of reading is not too far of a stretch. It is reasonable and relevant, as a student it is important to study for upcoming classes. And lastly, it is time-bound, the 30 minutes allotted is a good reference to plan other activities around.
It is a very important and handy skill to plan your ideas to make them a reality, so this upcoming year, and even during this summer, make it a good practice to set S.M.A.R.T. goals, and an even better one to complete them!
“Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals (with Explainer Video, Examples and Templates to Get You Started).” AttendanceBot Blog, 19 May 2020, www.attendancebot.com/blog/ultimate-guide-smart-goals/
Mind Tool Content Team. “SMART Goals: – How to Make Your Goals Achievable.” MindTools, www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.html
“SMART Goal - Definition, Guide, and Importance of Goal Setting.” Corporate Finance Institute, 16 Sept. 2020, https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/other/smart-goal/