Sometimes, hitting a goal is as simple as making SMARTer choices.
SMART is a powerful goal-setting tool that can help marketing professionals stay on track and accomplish what they set out to do. The acronym stands for five traits of good goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented.
Here’s how to get SMART about your professional goals:
Generalized goals are hard to reach because you can’t really tell when you’ve found your destination. For instance, if your goal is “exercise more,” when have you achieved that? By going to the gym three times a week? Once a week? When you took the stairs one day three weeks ago?
A more specific goal sets a clear deadline: “I will go to the gym.”
The ability to measure a goal makes it more specific, and thus easier to achieve. For instance, “I will go to the gym” doesn’t tell you how many visits “count” as achievement, making it hard to turn this goal into a healthy habit.
To make the goal easier to reach, make it measurable: “I will go to the gym twice a week.”
Even the best goal can’t be reached if it’s simply not achievable. Going to the gym twice a week for 16 hours a day might cause your work and personal life to suffer, to say nothing of your physical health. Instead, set limits that make the goal a bit challenging, but within your ability to achieve.
For instance, an achievable gym goal might read: “I will go to the gym twice a week for at least 30 minutes each time.”
A realistic goal is a goal that is achievable in context. For instance, while going to the gym seven days a week might be achievable, it’s not a realistic way to improve your health unless you know what you’ll do when you’re there. To create “realistic” goals, think “sustainable” and “supportive of the context of my life and other goals.”
To make a realistic sample gym goal, for instance, we might add: “I will go to the gym twice a week for at least 30 minutes each time, and I will spend that time in the weight room.”
How long do you plan to take to reach your goal? When do you want to stop and reevaluate the path you are on? Orienting your goal in terms of time will help you plan the steps you need to achieve it and keep you focused.
For example: “I will go to the gym twice a week for at least 30 minutes each time, and I will spend that time in the weight room. After three months, I will increase my time to three days a week.”
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