Goal setting. It’s many people’s best dream and worst nightmare. On the one hand, we love to set goals and dream big about where we’ll be in the next 10 years, 5 years--or many times, the next 2 weeks. But on the flip side, it can cause a lot of dis-ease and disappointment when people who set goals find that 10 years later, they’re no closer to achieving them than when they began.
So are goals just distant dreams that we hope will one day happen? Are achievements merely a matter of chance? No and no.
But we know the all too common narratives: Someone announces a goal only to have it fall to the wayside of good intention, many times only a few short weeks later (yes, we’re thinking of you, New Year’s resolutions). There are a number of reasons people don’t reach their goals. If you’ve ever dreamt a dream or tried to achieve a goal, only to give up on it, sometimes without even realizing it, you’re not alone. In fact, X% of people
A goals study by a Professor Gail Matthews noted some fascinating results that can shed light on the epidemic of unachieved goals. And likewise, her findings also deliver a measure of hope to those of us who know we want to achieve great things but just don’t know how to get there.
So what did Prof. Matthews find? She found that the simple step of creating actionable tasks to move toward a goal, and creating a sort of weekly progress report to report back to their peers, enabled people to achieve 40% more than those who didn’t set tasks or measure their progress.
Statistics also show that “3% of adults have specific, measurable, time-bound goals and they achieve 10 times as much as people without goals.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said that “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
The upshot of Matthew’s study is this: “The results of the study showed that 76 percent of participants who wrote down their goals, actions and provided weekly progress to a friend successfully achieved their goals. This result is 33 percent higher than those participants with unwritten goals, with a success rate of only 43 percent of goals achieved.”
That’s a definite improvement from people who seem to have some sense of how to set goals. But what does this mean for you, and how can you become part of the 76% of successful achievers?
Our team of experts at careerbliss have studied the science of success, and we’ve found this: Setting SMART goals can help you achieve your goals.
What is a SMART goal?
Goal-setting isn’t rocket science. But it turns out that there’s a formula that you can follow if you want to create goals that you can actually achieve. These goals are aptly named SMART goals. While the method or practice is indeed a smart one, the acronym S.M.A.R.T. actually stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based. When it comes to setting goals, these are the elements that enable someone to actually move toward and achieve their goals. It’s a process of not only writing down your goals, but creating them along with specific guidelines that make them less abstract as you put concrete action to work for you.
The 5 elements of a SMART Goal
Okay, so what’s an eager success-seeker, job-seeker or goal-creator supposed to do with these words? What do they actually mean for the practice of creating and setting goals that you can achieve? Let’s dive a little deeper into what each part of the SMART acronym stands for.
This one is pretty straightforward. When you set a goal, make sure that it’s as narrow and specific as possible. Rather than creating some goal like “to get a job in marketing” try something like “to get a job as a marketing director at a non-profit” (and if you have a specific one in mind, even better). The more you can narrow your focus, the better you can hone in and realize your goal.
When you start to create your goal, you must be sure that it’s measurable. This means that you should be able to measure your progress and see how you’re faring on the journey toward your goal. Setting milestones or creating a progress report can help you move steadily closer to your goal, and feel encouraged along the way as you see that every step, tiny thought it might be, is bringing you ever closer to your goal and your dream.
It’s time to take a good look at yourself and your goals to see if right here and now, from where you’re at in life, you can achieve the goal you are setting for yourself. You might find that there are preliminary steps you need to take, or some education or certification you need to obtain before you can move toward your goal. But remember--that’s also moving toward your goal. Listing out the resources you’ll need or the classes to take toward your goal essentially creates action-oriented tasks that are just bite-sized enough for you to complete them in your drive to achieve the big goal. Remember, a goal is like the top of the ladder, and every rung is a step or an action that must be taken before you can get to the top.
How relevant is your current goal to your bigger aspirations? Do you even know what your big aspirations or dreams are? If not, take a moment to think about it. Going back to the Marketing Director goal, consider this: what will becoming a marketing director enable you to do? There’s likely some bigger reason you want to be a director of marketing. If you can uncover that, then you can evaluate every goal you set in your life to see how it compares
Every good goal is (or should be!) based on time. That is, it has a time frame in which the setter plans to get from Point A to Point B. Keep in mind, Point B might not be the ultimate destination, but merely a step along the way. Establish a time frame in which you will achieve the specific goal you’ve set. If your goal does indeed require many steps on the way to your goal, go ahead and set timeframes for each one of the steps along the way. This will not only keep you on track but enable you to measure how your progress is going.
Why you need to create SMART goals in your job search, career, and life
Lest the statistics and research studies weren’t enough to convince you that setting SMART goals is the way to go--and the way to achieve the things you want out of life, consider this: your goal is likely nothing more than a distant dream without adding the focus, clarity and motivation that SMART goals are infused with. Yes, you might still be able to achieve your goals--but the chance of doing so is statistically slim. Why chance it? Taking the time to follow the SMART goal pattern will help you create and set a goal that you can actually (and statistically will) achieve!
SMART Goal example in the real world
At CareerBliss, our goal is to help jobseekers just like you find a job they love (Specific). We provide tools and resources online. We’re able to measure clicks, applications submitted, etc, which helps us understand the metrics behind jobseeker success--and know if we’re achieving our goal (Measureable). As we set the goals and determine all the steps or resources needed to achieve our goal of helping you find the job of your dreams (Attainable). We ensure that every blog post, every piece of content we create online is relevant to what we’re doing in helping you and others like you (Relevant). And we do it all with the goal of helping you get from Point A to Point B of your job search in the fastest way possible. In this case, we want to get you applying for jobs (or at the very least thinking through and revising your resume) the same day you start to look over our job board (Time-based).
To help keep our goal in focus, we also regularly consider our “why?”. In this case, our why is to help create a better world of happy employees who translate into happier people overall.
When employees are passionate about showing up to work and being their best, life is just better. We know it, and all our job seekers who have found their happy jobs and happy careers on our job board know it. Helping people find jobs is our business and our pleasure--helping them find jobs they love is our passion and our goal.
And our team of career experts has helped a lot of people set new, achievable goals and find the jobs they love by identifying the happiness factors that really matter for on-the-job satisfaction, and providing resources to help job seekers identify the factors that matter to them and find jobs that have those very happiness factors at play and on display.
What are you waiting for? Happy SMART goal setting!
The CareerBliss Team
Your career happiness is our #1 priority here at CareerBliss. To help you succeed in your career, we offer a wide variety of tools and resources to help you out along the way. Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!