We have always been motivated to study hard and do our best in our career to lead a successful and fulfilling life. Yet, there are still many of us who do not know where we are actually heading. Rather than being passive, why not take charge of your own life and live the way you want? You can learn to set personal and professional goals using the S.M.A.R.T. way.
Why Set Goals
Goal setting is a powerful tool that helps you plan for your ideal future.
For the long-term, goals serve to plot out the direction you are taking in your life, help you see the bigger picture and influence how you make decisions in the present. If, for example, your goal is to become a top manager in the banking and finance industry 10 years from now, all your career decisions (eg. what courses to study, who to connect with) will be geared toward this long-term goal.
For the short-term, goals help us stay motivated and give us the confidence to work towards our long-term plans, especially when we are able to see real progress in our acquisition of knowledge and time management skills. In other words, goals help us become more productive people.
Think you are still not as productive at work as you would want to be? Here is how to work smarter and get more things done.
Using S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting
S.M.A.R.T. (or SMART) goal setting helps you create goals that are well planned, and thus, are more likely to be achieved.
S = Specific. This is the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of your goal.
WHAT = What do you want to do?
WHY = Why is this important to you?
HOW = How are you going to achieve this?
WHAT: I want to organise my office desk.
WHY: So it is easier to find things and I can work more efficiently.
HOW: Organise different things in smaller containers, properly label them and return them to their proper place after use.
M = Measurable. If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.
For example, adding a numerical value to your goal makes it measurable. Instead of saying “We want more customers”, say, “Let’s aim to work with two new clients each month”. Come up with measurable goals, so that you can really see the change occur in your life.
A = Attainable. When you write down your specific goals, you also take into consideration your current resources and abilities, and how you can make use of them to attain your goals.
For example, if one of your goals is to lose two kilogrammes in one month, you can start plotting an exercise schedule that lasts a month. After you have achieved this goal, losing a further two kilogrammes the following month will seem more attainable to you. You can keep yourself motivated by achieving set goals.
R = Realistic. This means you have to be honest with yourself and really see where you are now relative to the goal you are planning to achieve.
For example, saying you will never eat cakes, chocolates, or other sweets again might not be a good idea if you love sweets. Trying to reduce the amount of sweets you eat will be a more realistic goal.
Setting goals that are too difficult, demand too many resources that you do not have at the moment, or go completely against your learning curve is unrealistic. However, this does not mean you should only make goals that are easy to attain. You should set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement.
T = Time-bound. You should set a time frame for your goals. Make these periods shorter so that you can also see progress more quickly.
For example, create time-bound goals by using time frames such as: next week, next quarter, or by age 30, etc.
Having a clear time frame will not only motivate you, but also strengthen your commitment towards making that goal into a reality. Without a time limit, you lose the sense of urgency and eventually your motivation.
By using the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting technique, you increase your chances for personal and professional success because you know exactly where to concentrate your efforts. Moreover, having goals clearly written down and with a definite time limit can also help you stay motivated and detect distractions faster so you can quickly go back on track. Finally, you will gain more self-confidence as you realise that you have learned the skills necessary to achieve your goals.
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