These examples of SMART goals (goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) are from my work as a freelance writer and blogger.
I created and run several “Quips and Tips” blogs – in fact, that’s how I earn my living! I love to write, and I especially love to achieve my financial goals through my own creations. These goal setting tips are based on how I achieved my goals as a blogger. Use these tips to achieve your own professional, personal, and academic goals — whether you’re looking for one of the highest paying jobs or a trip to Hawaii.
“Part of achievement is to be able to set realistic goals, but that’s one of the hardest things to do because you don’t always know exactly where you’re going…and you shouldn’t.” ~ George Lucas.
To achieve your goals, you need to keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds. That is, you must be specific and realistic, but ready to go in a new direction if God or the Universe or your life demands.
Examples of Smart Goals – From Specific to Timely (SMART)
“SMART” is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
“S” for specific ~ and an example of a specific goal is not “I want lots of readers to read my ‘Quips and Tips’ blog” or “I want to make lots of money as a blogger.” Those aren’t specific goals because they don’t give me anything to work towards. I have nothing to grasp onto (What is “lots of readers”? How do I know when I’m making “lots of money”?).
- A better SMART goal: “I intend to earn $125 a day from my ‘Quips and Tips’ blogs by January 2011.” An even smarter goal is, “I intend to earn $30 a day from my Google Adsense ads, $100 a day from my ClickBank ads, and $20 a day from my Amazon ads.” To set and achieve your goals, you need to be as concrete and specific as possible.
“M” for measurable ~ and a sample of a measurable goal is not “I’ll write blog posts regularly” or “I’ll find different types of advertising for my blogs.” While those goals will help me build better blogs, they’re not measurable. That is, I don’t know if I’m achieving them because I don’t know what “regularly” or “find different types of advertising” means. And if I don’t know what it means, I can’t measure it!
- A better SMART goal example: “I will write two blog posts a day for each of my five blogs.” Another smart goal is “I will find and test one new advertising program every month for my blog, and I’ll measure it’s success by tracking the number of clicks over a month’s time.” Measuring your progress is about setting smaller short-term goals that help you achieve your bigger long-term goals. Setting goals you can achieve is about measuring both your short-term and your long-term goals.
“A” for attainable ~ and a sample of an attainable goal is not “I started my blog two weeks ago, and I’ll attract 5,500 readers by the end of the month! I visualize myself as a successful, wildly popular blogger!!” No matter how much visualization you do, you have to keep your feet on the ground. It takes time, dedication, hard work, and a little luck to build a wildly successful blog. If you want to set goals you can achieve, you need to know what’s within reach for you.
- A better SMART goal example: “Most new blogs only attract a few dozen readers a day. My blog currently gets 30 hits a day, and in one month I plan to attract three times that many readers, as measured by 100 hits a day.” It may not seem like much, but 100 hits a day is attainable for a new blog (depending on the niche, popularity of the blogger, etc). If you want to achieve your goals, you need to take it one baby step at a time.
“R” for realistic ~ and a sample of a realistic goal is not “I’m gonna quit my job and be a blogger who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a year!” Few bloggers earn a full-time living from their blogs, and even fewer can do it within the first year or two of blogging. Plus, this goal isn’t specific, measurable, or timely. To achieve your goals, you need to be practical…which means knowing what you can and can’t realistically expect to achieve given your lifestyle, personality, abilities, and circumstances.
- A better SMART goal: “In six months, I will look at my blog earnings and personal finances, and see if I can go from full-time work at my day job to part-time work. I see myself working part-time at my outside job while working on my blogs part-time.” It may be a slightly optimistic goal to be earning part-time money after six months of blogging – but we have to be optimistic when we set our goals! To find the balance between optimism and realism, read more SMART goals examples.
“T” for timely ~ a sample of a timely goal is not “Someday I’ll start a second or third blog – and one day I hope to have a series of blogs,” or “When things at work calm down, I’ll start thinking about blogging more seriously.” The problem with this type of goal setting is that “one day” never comes. If you want to set goals you can achieve, you need to attach specific dates to your goals. Be open to changing your schedule – but be clear and specific about your time frame.
- A better goal: “I started my first ‘Quips and Tips’ blog two weeks ago, and I intend to start my second blog in five and a half months. My goal is to start a new ‘Quips and Tips’ blog every six months until I have 10 blogs.”
If one of your goals is going to college or university, learn how to decide if you should go to grad school.