How to Set and Achieve SMART Goals

Image of Julie Rasdorf
Julie Rasdorf
Planning for the future

We all have big dreams, but fall victim to the same problem. Having no idea where to start. Without any sort of plan, your dreams are likely to stay as they are, in your head.

Setting goals can help you hone in on the most crucial elements of your future and lead you to success. It can also give you the encouragement and direction you need to seek out and land new projects and opportunities. Plus, a future-oriented mindset could be the best way to stand out in a large talent pool. 

If you want to make your dreams a reality one day, there's no better place to start than by setting personal and professional SMART goals. 


What are SMART Goals?

For many, following through on goals can be challenging, but there are tactics to help increase your odds. When formulating goals, it's important to consider not only the outcome, but what it will take to achieve your ambitions. This way, you have a realistic definition of success for yourself.

By formatting goals in a SMART way, you clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, and correctly utilize available resources to ultimately give yourself the best chance at success. SMART is an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. 


The Criteria of a SMART Goal



The more detailed a goal is, the easier it becomes to conceptualize, define, and (eventually) achieve. It also helps to explain the reasoning and value of the goal itself. Start by answering the "five W's": who, what, when, where, and why. Once these are defined, the goal should be well-defined, clear, and unambiguous.



Setting indicators of progress help to gauge where you are within the overall plan. Whatever the goal may be, break it down into smaller, actionable steps that lead up to your end goal. If multiple steps are involved, it can work to hold you accountable along the way and keep you motivated by celebrating small victories along the path to success. 



Determine if you have the means to reach the goal and if it can happen within a set timeframe. Ensure each of your measurable steps is, in fact, achievable, given your time and resources. The aim is to create a goal that will challenge you to push your limits but remains attainable. If you determine that any of the steps along the way are not feasible, your strategy or resources may need to be reconsidered or reworked.



Don't set goals just for the sake of setting goals.  You don’t have precious energy to waste. Determine what key benefits achieving each goal will provide and decide if they will steer you towards success. It's helpful to incorporate these benefits directly into the goal itself to create a clear purpose and relevance to the bottom line of your desired outcome.



Goals without deadlines seemingly always stretch into infinity. SMART goals have a set timeframe for completion and drastically increase their chance of being accomplished. Setting deadlines, even if that’s a year away, will provide direction and accountability to stay on track and work towards reaching the goal.


A professional SMART goal example: 

"To get a job as a video editor by October, I will learn the editing software, Adobe Premiere, and expand my knowledge of editing and production. I will accomplish this by purchasing the editing software by January 31st, completing an online training course by March 1st, and creating a demo reel by August 1st. Becoming a video editor will allow me to pursue my passion for creating video and fulfill my desire for creativity in my work."

Rather than simply stating, "My goal is to be a video editor one day." This example follows the SMART goal criteria for being Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

This goal is specific because it is well-defined and provides clear answers to who, what, where, when, and why. The overarching goal to be a video editor is broken down into actionable steps with specific deadlines to fulfill the criteria for measurable and timely. Determining attainability can be evaluated by asking questions such as: "Do I have enough money to purchase the software? Am I free of any other commitments that will get in the way of me spending time to learn the software?" Adobe Premiere is a software that is used regularly in video editing, and becoming proficient can ultimately qualify me for positions in the production industry. Each step of the goal is relevant to the overarching dream of becoming a video editor and supported with key benefits.


Your Turn!

You are now fully equipped with the SMART goal template and an example of a professional SMART goal. The challenge now is to come up with your own personal and professional goals. Don't cut any corners - make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Add all of the important deadlines to your calendar, keep track over time, and celebrate the small victories along the way. 



What are your top professional goals? Is it to become a leader, learn a new skill, or land your dream job? At TeamPeople, we can help talented individuals reach their goals by offering a wide range of creative and technical job opportunities a variety of industries across the globe. Head to our talent page to learn about the perks of pursuing your passions at TeamPeople or check out our job board to see our current list of open opportunities.

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