Would you agree that a dream without a plan is simply a wish? If this is true then what is a dream with a plan? That my friend is called a goal.
SMART or S.M.A.R.T. criteria is a goal-setting a strategy that utilizes structure and trackability. In a nutshell, it takes your dream and turns it into an obtainable goal. Think about it. If you want your car to go from 0 to 100 mph does it accomplish this in one step? Or does it gradually move up in speed incrementally?
When you originally learned to walk it took steps right? Pun intended. You didn’t just pop out the womb and start running like Tom Cruise. No, you first started doing that belly slide, then you crawled, and eventually, you started walking. I could go through your whole childhood right now. Talking, eating, pooping, but I think you get the point.
So, if you are still with me and agree that all realistic goals require steps to obtain, then why do so many of us try to skip steps then get mad when we fail to reach our goal? This is what SMART is all about. Using Intermediary steps to accomplish the overarching objective.
The S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. We try to keep things short and sweet here so I’m going to go through each pretty quickly. If you want a more in-depth break down check out this explanation.
To put this into perspective let’s pick a popular goal; “I want to make more money“. First off, you have to be SPECIFIC. I mean very specific. Before you write that goal down ask yourself “who, what, when, where, and how am I going to do this?” Once you have those questions answered, remember the answers. You will need them for the other steps.
So let’s say you came up with something SPECIFIC like, “I want to have a million dollars in my bank account by this time next year.” Okay, now let’s make it MEASURABLE. What are a million bucks in your bank account good to look, feel, smell, taste, and sound like? Doing this will help you realize that this goal is real.
Is it ATTAINABLE and RELEVANT? I feel that these two go together. How are you going to get this money and what will you have to sacrifice to get it? Time, money, family, friends? Accomplishing this goal will change your life, but are you prepared for that? Do you have the necessary skills to succeed? If not do you want to go through the trouble of getting them?
Is it TIMELY? Remember you had to be specific and in doing so you set your time table for a year. Is that a realistic timeline? By the end of all of this, you should know the answer to that question and adjust accordingly.
The SMART Criteria is a gameplan that you set up, record, and follow to achieve your goals. I assure you this feat is impossible without preparation. Even the “lucky” lotto winner took the necessary steps of getting the money, picking the numbers and buying the ticket before hitting the jackpot. Yes, I said “lucky”, but you must realize that “luck” is just a byproduct of preparation.