Realistic: don't psych yourself out with intimidating goals

20 November 2019 -

Finish line on athletics trackIf you try to achieve too much too quickly, you’ll demotivate yourself by the slow progress. By setting realistic targets, and breaking these down into achievable tasks, you can ensure your success

Emily Hill

Anyone who has ever written a to-do list will know they make it very easy to set out your intentions and infinitely more simple to get everything done. When setting SMART objectives, though, it’s important to work out how you’ll actually follow through.

“In order for objectives and goals to become a reality they need to be written clearly, so all parties involved in achieving these understand what is required and what they are working towards,” explains Dr Alison Watson, Undergraduate Business Programme Team Leader at Arden University.

She envisions how SMART objectives might be used if you were managing a sales department.

“An example could be to increase sales on children’s clothing by 10% within a 12-month period. As the goal is specific, measurable in relation to the percentage increase, and timed over a 12-month period, it is both achievable and realistic. Ensuring that objectives are written in this way enables people to actually follow through on them as directed and have a realistic end goal to work towards.”

Setting such goals is particularly important when you are beginning your career, graduating from university, or are in your first job. “Getting motivated doesn't come naturally to everyone; while some are just born with it, others have to go through the processes to push themselves into that mindset,” says Kerry Beeby, a senior manager at Pro Moulds.

When entering the world of work, SMART objectives can be incredibly helpful if put into place by a thoughtful manager hoping to get the best out of his or her young workforce. “Transparency of the objectives and an explanation of them is required, particularly when setting such objectives for newer members of a team,” says Dr. Watson. “This will engage them, keeping them enthused for the action and provide an understanding of the direction in which the organisation is moving. When setting objectives, it is crucial that they are applicable for all parties involved to ensure employees are kept motivated. Effective communication of the objectives is vital from all levels within any organisation.”

It is important to add that SMART can also be applied by students to get the results they need in order to land that dream job at the end of university. “Objectives are also important when completing an academic qualification,” Dr. Watson concludes. “Setting objectives will help students focus on their programme and aid with study planning.”

Are you in the habit of using stepping stones to reach your goals? On ManagementDirect we have templates, articles, and videos on how to achieve your targets – browse our information library today.

Image: Austris Augusts Unsplash

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