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Setting SMARTER Goals in 7 Easy Steps

~ By Duncan Haughey

The concept SMARTER written on a blackboard

The concepts of SMART and SMARTER provide an excellent way to make sure your project goals and objectives are trackable, relevant, that there are enough resources to achieve them, and there is a definite delivery deadline.

Try these seven steps to help you set SMARTER goals for your projects:

1. Specific

Exactly what is it you want to achieve in your business or personal life? A good goal statement explains the what, why, who, where and when of a goal. If your goal statement is vague, you will find it hard to achieve because it will be difficult to define success.

2. Measurable

You must be able to track progress and measure the result of your goal. A good goal statement answers the question, how much or how many. How will I know when I have achieved my goal?

3. Agreed

Your goal must be relevant to your stakeholders and agreed with them. Examples of people to agree your goal with are your line manager, employees and customers.

4. Realistic

Your goal should be stretching, but realistic and relevant to you and your company. Make sure the actions you need to take to achieve your goal are things within your control. Is your goal achievable?

5. Time-Bound

Goals must have a deadline. A good goal statement will answer the question, when will I achieve my goal? Without time limits, it's easy to put goals off and leave them to die. As well as a deadline, it's a good idea to set some short-term milestones along the way to help you measure progress.

6. Ethical

Goals must sit comfortably within your moral compass. Most people resist acting unethically. Set goals that meet a high ethical standard.

7. Recorded

Always write down your goal before you start working towards it. Written goals are visible and have a greater chance of success. The recording is necessary for the planning, monitoring and reviewing of progress. Is your goal written down?


Download our free SMARTER Goals Template


Comments (2)

Topic: Setting SMARTER Goals in 7 Easy Steps
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1st January 2019 9:23pm
David (San Mateo California) says...
I'm a mental health counselor, and I use this template with my clients for tracking progress on all kinds of goals related to mental health as well as daily living. The Internet has other versions of "SMARTER" goal setting with variations on what the letters of the pneumonic stand for. This version is my favorite because you have the letter "E" for "Ethical." Personally, I feel a clarification of ethics during any collaborative goal-setting process would make the world a much better place.

I'd like to repost this - should I credit Duncan Haughey?
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2nd January 2019 3:01pm
Duncan Haughey (London) says...
Thank you for your feedback, David. I agree, clarification of ethics during any collaborative goal-setting process is important. With so much digital communication, news of ethical misconduct spreads quickly as we have seen in many high profile cases splashed across the media.

You should credit the source - Project Smart.

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