SMART Goals Tracker
The acronym SMART has been associated with goal-setting for a long time. It is useful for helping guide us to set goals that we’re likelier to attain because they’re:
Specific: Your goal should be clear and specific, otherwise you won't be able to focus your efforts or feel truly motivated to achieve it. When drafting your goal, try to answer the five "W" questions:
What do I want to accomplish?
Why is this goal important?
Who is involved?
Where is it located?
Which resources or limits are involved?
Measurable: It's important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal.
A measurable goal should address questions such as:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable: Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible. When you set an achievable goal, you may be able to identify previously overlooked opportunities or resources that can bring you closer to it.
An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:
How can I accomplish this goal?
How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
Relevant: This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it's important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you're still responsible for achieving your own goal.
A relevant goal can answer "yes" to these questions:
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match our other efforts/needs?
Am I the right person to reach this goal?
Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
Time-Bound: Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.
A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:
What can I do six months from now?
What can I do six weeks from now?
What can I do today?
Once a SMART Goal is set, it’s time to begin planning the steps that will lead to attaining it. Because, after all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
While that sounds really simple, it can be intimidating to try to create a plan ourselves … if we knew and fully understood all of the steps to easily complete a goal then maybe we’d have already accomplished it. Therefore, we have created a worksheet that walks you through four simple questions that you can continually ask yourself between now and the time that you expect to accomplish the goal.
START: What things do I need to begin doing that I’m not currently doing in order to attain my goal?
STOP: What things do I need to stop doing so that I might complete my goal?
CONTINUE: No matter the goal, we are often doing things that will help get us there. Therefore we ask ourselves about the things we need to be purposeful in continuing to do.
NEED: For some goals, we may have a specific need like a tool or resource which should be identified.
While you may have heard of both the SMART acronym as well as the Start/Stop/Continue/Need framework, this approach combining the two is unique and therefore, we’ve created an exclusive SMART Goal tracker worksheet. Download it for your use—we’d love to hear how it helps you attain your goals!