Introduction: Video Course

Section 5: Making Objectives S.M.A.R.T.

For our final section of this lesson, we will take a dive into the topic of how to make objectives S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for: “specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.” Using the S.M.A.R.T. framework, you can write the best objectives possible. S, for specific, clearly states the desired outcome. M, for measurable, quantifies or qualifies the success outcome. A, for achievable, validates that the ability and conviction are in place to complete the objective. R, for realistic, clarifies that the objective is worth the effort. T, for timely, establishes deadlines within a relevant time frame.

Let’s run through a few examples of S.M.A.R.T. vs non-S.M.A.R.T. objectives. For the next five sets of objectives we will work through the SMART acronym, one letter at a time. Let’s start with “specific.”

In this example, “I will graduate,” is not a S.M.A.R.T. objective. However, if we rewrite it as: “I will graduate Magna Cum Laude, in four years’ time” we can make it S.M.A.R.T. It is “specific” because it is concrete, detailed, focused, and well-defined. Another way of saying this, is: it includes a specific outcome, or expected results.

The second example, “I want to be successful,” is not a S.M.A.R.T. objective. However, if we rewrite it as: “I want to have a savings account with at least $500,000 within 5 years from this date,” we can make it SMART. It is measurable because it establishes a concrete criteria for measuring progress. Another way of assessing this is: Can anyone tell if you achieved your stated outcome?

This next example, “I want to be rich in three months,” is not a S.M.A.R.T. objective. However, if we rewrite it as: “I want to be rich in 8 years by starting my own food business and attending management seminars,” we can make it S.M.A.R.T. It is achievable because it is doable within the proposed time frame. Another way of saying this, is: the objective is able to stretch you, but not so much that you lose motivation.

The example, “In a year, I will be a politician with lots of backing,” is not a S.M.A.R.T. objective. However, if we rewrite it as: “By the end of the year, I will sponsor legislation in Parliament to increase tourism in my country,” we can make it S.M.A.R.T. It is realistic because it is an outcome that you are willing and able to achieve. Another way of saying this, is: you believe it is possible to achieve the objective.

The final example, “I will do my research paper,” is not a S.M.A.R.T. objective. However, if we rewrite it as: “I will start doing my research paper by 7 pm tonight and finish it by 7 pm on the next day,” we can make it SMART. It is timely because the deadlines are achievable and realistic. Another way of saying this, is: the time frames align with other projects that affect resources.

To finish up this first lesson, congratulate yourself with a final quick quiz!