SMART is an acronym which stands for:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Realistic
T = Time-Bound
Sometimes you may see some small variations to these words, such as A = Attainable and R = Relevant, but the words listed above are the most commonly used.
SMART targets are a great way to create meaningful and measurable targets for yourself and others.
The criteria of specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, provides a comprehensive model for setting objectives to support your personal and business operations.
This is a widely used model for setting objectives and one which you must familiarise yourself with.
Effective targets must have a measurable component. If you can’t measure it how do you know it has been achieved? You may want to measure the timescale, quantity or quality associated with the target. Regardless of what you are measuring there needs to be some way of establishing if the desired outcome has been achieved.
Targets must be bound by time to ensure there is an associated deadline. Tasks will often take as long as the timescale allows and by offering no end date for completion it is unlikely the task will be prioritised. People work to deadlines so it is important to ensure one is incorporated into the target.
Here is an example of a non-SMART target:
“I will finish writing my book”
This is not specific enough to provide direction, it is measurable as it will be complete when the book is finished, it is potentially achievable and realistic however time frame has been provided to put the target into context.
Alternatively, here is a similar example using the SMART model:
“I will finishing writing the fifth chapter of my book by the end of April 2023.”
This target is specific to the task of writing, measurable as it refers to completing the fifth chapter, achievable and realistic due to the time scale allowed and is time bound as it includes a deadline date.
I hope this example helps and the information provided within the article is useful.
However, not everyone likes SMART Targets as they can be limiting and other alternatives to SMART have been proposed.