Why You Need to Set Your SMART Goals Backwards

goal setting

Do you struggle when trying to set SMART goals? It could be that you’re doing it all wrong.

Well, not really all wrong, but there is a simple change you can do to make setting SMART goals easier. It’s as simple as working backwards.

Instead of SMART, focus on TRAMS.

SMART goals overview

Before we get into why you should work backwards, let’s do a quick overview of what SMART goals are:

Specific – Specific goals include the who, what, where, when and why details that surround the goal.

Measurable – Goals need a criteria to measure what progress is occurring. To make a goal measurable, focus on numbers, how you’ll determine if you met your goal, and what you can track to see if you’re making progress along the way.

Attainable – For a goal to be SMART, it needs to be something that can reasonably happen. The goal should be something that will stretch you, but still be something within reasonable reach.

Relevant – Business goals need to make sense for the business. For this to be the case, overall company goals need to originate at the top so all goals work the business in the direction its trying to move.

Time-Based – Goals need a start and finish date. There needs to be urgency to motivate progress toward achieving the goal.

SMART goals help set us up for success by including the key details we need to move forward toward the goal. These details are the difference between saying “I want to get in shape.” and “I want to obtain a gym membership at my local community center and work out four days a week to be healthier.”

The SMART goal begins to create the steps and process that will follow so the goal can be achieved.

So, why set SMART goals backwards?

We believe that it’s best to begin with the “T” and work backwards. Why?

Because we believe time is the biggest factor in determining what goal you can achieve. It’s important to know what kind of time frame you’re working with so you can think about what is realistic for that time period. When you set the time frame first, it allows you to think about what you can push yourself to accomplish in that amount of time.

It’s essential to set goals for different time periods as well. Your five-year goals, determine your one-year goals, which determine your quarterly and monthly goals. At this point, you’ve likely already set your annual business goals (and if not, don’t worry, it’s not too late to get started.) But we encourage you to take the goal setting process a step further and use this time to identify the quarterly goals that will help you accomplish your annual goals.

Keep moving through the goal setting steps backwards

Once you have established the time frame you’re setting goals for, continue to the “R” (relevant.)

If you’re in a position with a manager or supervisor, they should be providing the information needed for you to create relevant goals. If you are the leader,ensure you’re sharing the necessary information with your team.

Relevant goals must make sense with your job function and improve the business. This step develops the direction of the goal you are going to set. Then, you move on to the “A” to ensure you’re creating an attainable goal.

An attainable goal is based on an educated guess of what you can realistically do within your time frame. Of course, no one can predict the future so we must use the information we have available to make the best decision.

Next up in the letters is “M” for measurable which speaks to quantity. This can be a percentage, number or other unit of measurement. It needs to be whatever analytic makes sense for the goal you’re setting. It’s all about creating a way for you to measure if you’re making progress and how you will know when you’ve achieved your goal.

Finally, we reach the “S” for specific. This is the part of SMART goal setting where you ensure your goal includes all necessary details to spell out exactly what the goal is, why you have it, and how you’re going to accomplish it. SPEARity coaches teach that specific goals must begin with an action verb. Examples of action verbs include:

  • Complete
  • Assist
  • Achieve
  • Delegate
  • Plan
  • Arrive
  • Enhance
  • Resolve

Once you have your SMART goal complete, it’s crucial that you take the next step, which is often overlooked.

Break you goals into actionable tasks

Goals are only helpful if you take action on them. The SMART goals you set should dictate what you spend you’re time doing. So, look at your goals and make a list of all the steps/tasks that need to happen in order for the goal to be achieved and completed. Then, these tasks need to make it on your calendar or be delegated to someone else who will be responsible for them.

If you’ve struggled with goal setting in the past, these simple steps can help transform your experience with hitting your goals in 2023.

If you’re ready to level up your leadership skills and accelerate your ability to scale your business and reach your goals, contact SPEARity and explore our business coaching options. The whole year is in front of you right now; this is the time to take action so you can celebrate 12 months from now. Get started today!

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