Wunmi Adelusi: How Effective are S.M.A.R.T. Goals?

 

Reflecting on the month that just passed, many of us find ourselves asking what we accomplished? Those who have set their goals are pondering if they are doing well while those who are yet to set goals wonder how long they would remain ‘goal-less’. These two categories have something in common: they are both thinking about goal-setting. So whether you have put pen to paper or conceived an idea in your mind, you desire to do better and that, in itself, is a good thing.

If there were a list of most popular acronyms or universally acceptable principles, it would be the S.M.A.R.T. principle – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. While this principle wins popularity contests in goal-setting, studies show that some people still consider it to be ineffective. Hence, we hope to come across something more novel.

However, I have observed that the S.M.A.R.T. principle does not seem practical for all because of some elementary things intrinsic to us as individuals.

Reshaping your career mindset

In setting career goals, having the right mindset is critical as it changes your perspective on what is achievable. Knowing that your career is beyond your job role/title and that your career is a marathon, not a sprint will help you see that it is a journey that is not finite.

Do a skills/strength assessment

A skills audit will help you assess where you are and what you can do better. For example, you consider yourself inadequate in writing, then you can set a goal to take 3 to 6 months courses to improve your writing skills. Also, with skills assessment, you can identify what you are good at and leverage on them. For example, you consider yourself eloquent, you can set the goal to volunteer to facilitate your strategy sessions at work, this will give you more visibility.

Be audacious in your goals

To get the sense of accomplishment setting goals brings, your goals must be tainted with lots of uncertainties. This doesn’t mean you should set goals with zero chances of success – that will be demotivating – but setting a goal with a fifty-fifty chance of success is difficult and audacious enough to give you a huge sense of accomplishment when you succeed.

Failing is an opportunity to learn

A lot of us get discouraged pursuing goals because we have tried them before. That is why you should try again, your chances of success are higher because you have learned what you should or shouldn’t avoid.

You are your standard

Lastly and importantly, we must be mindful not to compare ourselves. Your goals are unique to you so you have no business comparing your results to someone else’s goals. It would be a disservice to yourself. How do you even measure progress when you measure your goal on visibility with another person’s goal to have multiple streams of income? There are totally different things and this could take you off course.

I genuinely hope that we all have an exceptional year, even as we make efforts to smash our goals.

 

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