You know the expression, “Work smarter, not harder?” It applies more than just to the office grind.
No matter what you do in business, goals are a big part of success. But any Plain Jane can set a goal—it takes a little thought to write a goal you can actually use to get better.
That’s where SMART goals come in. The acronym SMART is a framework for creating goals that actually, y’know, get results. Whether you’re working on a side hustle, grinding it out at a full-time job, or run your own business, you need SMART goals to get across the finish line.
What are SMART goals?
Never heard of SMART goals before? No worries. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
You want to make sure your goal hits on every one of these concerns. Otherwise, your goal will be as floppy as a piece of spaghetti.
The SMART goal setting framework helps you clearly define your goals. And when you know what your goals actually are, it’s much easier to put them into practice, know when you’ve achieved them, and set even more goals.
We love SMART goals because they help us get disciplined about our goals. It rolls accountability into the goal-setting process, which is important for actually getting results.
Why should I use SMART goals?
Everybody wants to make money. If you’re doing a side hustle, for example, we assume you want to see some kind of money from that, right? The same goes if you’re a sales pro working for The Man or you’re The Man trying to grow your business.
Discipline and focus drive revenue, not loosy-goosy goals without teeth. Humans love setting goals that we won’t follow through on. After all, how many New Year’s resolutions have gone up in smoke?
You need SMART goals because they give meaning to your goals. They help you brainstorm next steps—and how to actually get stuff done instead of wishing you got stuff done.
For example, you could set the following goal:
Goal: Start my side hustle by next month.
Okay, great! You’re on your way to building your side hustle. But what does that mean for your actionable next steps? How are you going to do it? What are you going to do to make it happen?
As you can see, the goal may sound good in theory, but doesn’t have much backing it.
Instead, let’s make a goal using the SMART goals template.
SMART Goal: Develop an introductory 10-step business plan for my side hustle in two weeks.
This goal hits all of the SMART requirements.
- It is Specific: You need 10-steps for an introductory business plan.
- It is Measurable: It includes a quantifiable measurement (10 steps).
- It is Achievable: It is realistic to write 10 steps in two weeks.
- It is Relevant: You must have a business plan for any business you are creating.
- It is Time-Bound: You have two weeks to do it.
The bottom line
See? How easy and productive was that?
Not only will SMART goals make your goals clearer, but also easier to track and adjust your plan of action.
Sit down and try writing at least one SMART goal for yourself. Add calendar reminders or tasks in your project management software to check in on your goals. The more accountable you are to your SMART goals, the better your chance of making them a reality.