SMART Goals: How to Set Relevant Goals

Using the SMART goal-setting technique offers many strategies pivotal to success. One very essential factor is simply time. Dedicating the time and adapting to a new routine and work to a goal is much easier said than done.  

Fulfilling this requirement doesn’t fall under the T or the “Time Bound” component of SMART goal setting, rather the “R”, which stands for “Relevant”. Throughout the entire process of chasing a goal, you have to constantly assess how it can fit into your life. This is a purpose-driven concept that adds clarity to the mission and helps you stay motivated.

By asking some important questions, you can figure out how relevant the pursuit of ANY goal may be in your life. We’ll use an example goal to determine the relevance, and how it can help when applied to any of your goals.

Example Goal: You are an assistant baker in a grocery store, but one day dream of opening your very own bakery.

Question 1: How can you fit this goal into your life?

To answer this question, you should also focus on the specificity of your goal.  By knowing the specifics of your goal, you have a better idea of all the hoops you’ll need to jump through in order to open your own bakery. After you’ve analyzed those steps, you will then figure out how to carve out time out of your schedule to get the process going.

This is a great assessment to adopt before you begin the journey of achieving a goal. You obtain a greater sense of the overall scope of the goal, which prevents yourself from pursuing it blindly. Many people want to accomplish something, but often aren’t willing or don’t know how to properly fit it into the routine they're so accustomed to. The purpose of setting a goal is to shake up your own status quo and have an accomplishment. Knowing the answer to this question will be incredibly helpful the moment you begin.

Question 2: What will you gain from this?

Asking this question helps establish the relevance of the goal because it boosts your motivation to do something. It becomes more a vision statement than a simple wish. Your thoughts and wishes become far more tangible, and the desire to achieve them greatly increases. If you were trying to lose weight, not only are you changing the mindset of your appearance, but also the numerous health benefits outweigh how you look. In essence, there are tremendous advantages that you can experience by pursuing the goal. In order to succeed, you need to build a vision that excites you, so you can jumpstart the process and stay motivated throughout the journey.  

In our scenario of opening a new bakery, there are potentially many benefits you will gain in starting this goal. As a business owner, you have total control over the creation of your uniquely baked goods, which you should be proud of! Your wage would increase as the business grew, and additionally, you would gain the freedom to dictate your schedule.  

Question 3: How realistic is the goal?

We don’t want to discourage you from pursuing a lofty goal, but this is a question that’s necessary to answer in order to start the process. Why do you need to ask yourself this? Determining whether the goal is realistic corresponds directly with its relevance and achievability. If you decide to break down the goal into more reachable goals while slowly working towards that ambitious one, then you can make a more informed decision about the goal’s relevance.

Running a bakery may seem quite realistic to you because you already have experience working in one. But you have to think of many external factors aside from your sole experience with kneading dough and carefully crafting a croissant. Do you have enough capital to start a business? If not, how are you going to raise funds to do so? Where will the ideal location be? Do you think you have a strong mindset or managerial experience to hire a staff? These are all important questions to ask yourself when deciding if this goal is relevant because you need to know if you can realistically supply to those demands.

Question 4: How will you be rewarded?

When potentially fitting a goal into your life, you need to know what rewards you’ll stand to reap by making it a reality. What appeals to you most? Are you doing it for the right reasons? This is a great tactic of deciding whether the goal is appealing enough to be pursued. If you deem your goal as necessary, then it’s certainly relevant to your life. You may not know exactly what all the rewards will be, but if only one is compelling enough, then you’re more likely to achieve the goal. This is why SMART goal setting is great because of its practical and analytical approach to your goals. But having that emotional trigger to motivate you is also very crucial.

A monetary reward is obviously highly valuable. As the owner of a bakery, you would be generating more income for yourself in comparison to your current position as an assistant baker. And as we mentioned earlier, you would get all creative control over what and how you bake. You might even end up having the best donuts in your area and eventually open new locations in several different regions! Being inspired by the possible rewards will push you toward the finish line, and ultimately, you help you succeed.

Question 5: What will it take for this to be a success?

This is where measurables really help you figure out the relevance of your goals. It’s a way to evaluate any progress you’ll make going forward. When chasing a goal, understanding which approach works for you will be your best bet at meeting your level of success.

It is beneficial to break your goal down into more attainable milestones because then the goal will only seem more and more tangible. If there are multiple benchmarks to hit, then you could imagine what it would be like to string smaller successes together toward the larger goal at hand. Building a winning mindset will do wonders for your self-confidence going forward.

All of these questions can work for any goal big or small. In the end, it’s about you being able to adapt your normal routine to the goal you have set for yourself.  When you realize what you will gain, you will be constantly dreaming about your life after conquering the goal. If it’s within reason and seems realistic to accomplish, then it’s time to change that vision into reality!