Let’s talk about goals. Not the kind scored on the football pitch or those of cute couples in matching outfits on TikTok. No! We aim to analyze the sort of goals that promote the completion of large tasks and propel you forward in your field.
We aim to dissect the benefit of smart goals and guide you on how to set realistic goals for your various daily commitments. After reading this article we hope to change your approach towards work and study to a positive one.
All through my study life, many people have chanted the mantra of setting goals and insisted that they be smart. For me, planning to read three chapters a night was a great idea given the tasks at hand.
Often, I would end up frustrated as I would have barely covered a topic leave alone recall any item I had studied. What is wrong with me? I need to do this! A daily woe that I would resolve after failing to meet any of my targets.
In retrospect, the aim to cover huge tasks of work in short durations was counterintuitive. Besides failing to achieve my goal, I would often end up frustrated and blaming myself for failing to complete the ‘easiest’ of tasks.
In my college days, I encountered Robert Mergers SMART approach to lesson objectives. At this moment, it dawned on me that my ignorance had me approaching goals wrong.
SMART goals training
Smart goals are a way of gauging your productivity and chunking tasks to ensure proper time management. SMART can be broken into five-step criteria for gauging goals namely: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
A specific goal is clear and well-defined. This criterion dictates that your goal answers the who, where, what, why, and when your goal should be reached. As such, your goal should encapsulate the essentials that could be used to gauge its achievement.
Contrary to the goal of ‘studying hard to ace my paper’, ‘studying calculus for each hour every night to rehash concepts learned in class and improve my score’ offers a better definition of your role and how you intend to achieve the goal.
Smart realistic goals should provide a criterion for gauging their achievement. For instance, our calculus study goal allows us to gauge its achievement as we can check whether or not we have skipped a session that should be focused to study the subject.
Do you have all the resources to meet your goal? This goal-setting criterion is a chance to check your requirements and acquire the necessary materials for seeing your goal to its completion. For instance, planning to complete your research in a week is time-bound but defies the logic of research paper writing.
When setting your goal, check with others who have managed to achieve the feat you intend to achieve and ensure that you have all they needed at your disposal.
The above section gives you a glimpse of an unrealistic goal. Smart realistic goals should be able to manage within the available time and with the resources at your disposal.
As such, ensure that you are available and have access to all resources essential for the completion of your goal. For instance, planning to cover a chapter in differential calculus over one-night sounds more realistic than a dreamy aspiration of tackling the entire unit over a night.
Smart goals time management dictates that you outline a start and end date for your goal. If you allow your goal an infinite amount of time, you are bound to push it off for a later date.
Conversely, having a deadline will ensure that you strive to complete your goal before the set duration elapses. This criterion also allows you to hold yourself accountable and duly reward yourself if you have managed to meet your goal.
Why smart goals are important
Setting realistic goals is crucial for proper time management and progress assessment. Smart goals allow you to:
- Gauge your achievements
- Measure your progress
- Identify the items you need for a project
- Guide your efforts in the right trajectory
Smart goals are thus essential in helping cover all bases before you set out to handle a task. They help you coalesce resources and avoid futile attempts that are unrealistic within your capacity.