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Setting goals for professional advancement can mean the difference between having a mediocre job and a career you love. There are many acceptable ways to set goals, but setting SMART goals has been proven to be the most effective.
Today, we are going to look at how you can set SMART goals to help you achieve a promotion in the coming year. Let’s get started with an overview of what SMART goals are and how to go about setting them.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are a way to create a goal in detail. This allows you to create a roadmap in order to reach your ultimate destination in regards to where you want your life to go. The concept of setting SMART goals involves five aspects, each beginning with the letters of the word smart.
Specific – The goal you make needs to be specific. For example, it is fine to think you want to be healthier, but how are you going to do this? Are you going to give up carbs, join a gym, or do something else? Say exactly how you are going to reach this goal.
Measurable – Your goal needs to be measurable in order to determine if you are succeeding. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, say you want to lose 25 pounds. In this way, you will be able to measure both progress and reaching the goal.
Achievable – Your goal has to be something realistic that you are able to meet. Make sure you give yourself the necessary time you need to reach the goal. If your goal isn’t realistic, you will find yourself feeling defeated.
Relevant – Your goal should be relevant to what you want to achieve. Does the goal help you move toward a bigger goal? Are the steps you plan on taking actually going to help you advance? You need to make sure they mean something or they won’t keep you motivated.
Time-Bound – By giving yourself a date to work toward, you add a sense of urgency to your goal. Without a target time, you could end up flailing around for years and never get anywhere. Set up a time frame for when you want to see your goal achieved.
How to Set SMART Goals
In order to set a SMART goal, you must start to work backwards. Determine what you want the final outcome to be. Once that is in place, follow a few steps:
Now, let’s get into some specific SMART goals for promotion you may find helpful.
1. Upgrade my professional certificate.
“I will upgrade my professional certificate within the next three months by attending online classes in the evening and taking the required tests.”
S: Attending online classes to upgrade professional certification is very specific.
M: Attending and finishing classes make this measurable.
A: This is definitely achievable as online classes are easy to find.
R: Upgrading your certificate is relative to getting a promotion.
T: Giving yourself three months makes this time-bound.
2. Become proficient in all company departments.
“I will learn how to navigate each department of this company by finding one hour a day each week to shadow someone in that department. I will have each department head quiz me at the end of the week to see how well I did. It will take me two months to cover all of the departments.”
S: Shadowing in each department makes this a very specific action, as does being quizzed.
M: The one hour a day for a week makes this measurable.
A: As long as you have permission, this is perfectly attainable.
R: Shadowing in each department is relevant to understanding how each department works.
T: The two months make this time-dependent.
3. Ask for regular feedback and adjust as needed.
“Every month for the coming six months, I will set up an appointment with my supervisor and ask for feedback on my performance, both good and bad. I will then take any advice and put it into action.”
S: This is a very specific goal in that it includes how often an appointment will be made, with whom, and for how long. It also includes why.
M: This is easily kept track of by marking the appointments on a calendar.
A: This goal is definitely achievable. Most supervisors would welcome the initiative.
R: Definitely relatable to getting feedback and having a chance to grow.
T: The mention of once a month for six months makes this time-dependent.
4. Increase my sales record.
“I will increase my sales record by at least ten percent over the coming three months by adding ten cold calls each week to the previous week’s number. ”
S: Very specific. There is mention of how many additional calls, for how long, and for how many months. It also mentions the amount of increase you are aiming for.
M: Keeping track of the number of calls made and the number of sales, this goal is measurable.
A: Ten calls over the previous week’s total is very attainable.
R: Increasing the number of cold calls is completely related to increasing sales.
T: Doing this for a period of three months makes it time-specific.
5. Show leadership skills.
“I will demonstrate my leadership skills by volunteering to be the project leader on the next project that comes available. By organizing the team members, assigning roles, and ultimately succeeding, I will demonstrate my ability to get things done and motivate others.”
S: Mentioning taking on the project leader role makes this specific.
M: The success of the project will make the goal measurable in that how well the project turns out will indicate the quality of leadership skills.
A: Volunteering to take on a leading role is very attainable, as is doing everything that a leader is required to do.
R: Leading a team project to a successful conclusion is relatable to showing leadership skills
T: While there is no specific timeline here, the next project that comes available indicates a specific start and the project completion is in itself the end Jing date.
6. Develop better communication skills.
“I will develop my communication skills by joining Toastmasters and attending meetings for the year. I will be able to test the improvement of my skills by how well my message comes across during the company meetings.”
S: Joining Toastmasters is a very specific action and so is attending meetings.
M: Measurement of improvement is mainly going to be feedback from others but the attendance of meetings for the specified time period can be measured.
A: This is attainable as long as schedules can be arranged to accommodate the meetings and there is a local chapter.
R: Toastmasters is a perfect vehicle for making improved communication attainable.
T: Committing to one year of monthly meetings makes this time-bound.
7. Show I am a Team Player.
“I will volunteer to join a team project and show how well I work with others. I will help the other team members with their tasks, as well as take on my own. Once the project is over, I will ask for the impression of the team leader as to how well I did.”
S: This goal is specific although it could be made more by stating which project you will join.
M: The reactions of other team members to your efforts and the feedback from the team leader make this measurable.
A: Joining a group in the workplace is very attainable.
R: By working well with other team members, you are making this relatable to showing your ability to be a team player.
T: This is time-bound in that every project has a finish date. While you don’t specify a personal end date, saying you will follow through until the end of the project subjects you to the project’s end date.
8. Learn the most up-to-date technology in my field.
“By reading the latest industry magazines, I will see what new technologies are emerging and will then take classes at the local technical school in order to learn how to use these new technologies.”
S: Reading current journals and taking the required classes makes this specific.
M: Completing the classes with a passing grade makes the achievement of this goal measurable.
A: Reading journals and taking classes are both attainable actions.
R: These actions are completely relatable to what you are trying to accomplish, which is learning the new technology.
T: The scheduling of classes makes this time-bound. You may want to add which semester you will attend classes.
9. Develop myself personally.
“I need to be able to bring my best self to the table. To that end, I will start improving myself by learning how to manage stress in a class given at the local hospital. I will then look to see what other self-improvement classes are available and take one each session for the coming year.”
S: By specifying what skill you plan to work on and how you plan to achieve that, you make this a specific goal.
M: Completing the class makes this goal measurable. You could also keep a mood journal that records your stress level and see if your efforts make improvements over time.
A: Limiting yourself to one class at a time makes this achievable.
R: Managing stress is one of the biggest things one can do to improve themselves and is often necessary to achieve further growth. This makes this goal relatable.
T: Each class runs for a specific time period, which makes this goal time-bound automatically. Adding that you will take one class each session adds further time restrictions.
10. Mentor new employees.
“I will take on the task of mentoring the youngest, newest employee for the next six months. This will show my willingness to lead, my ability to train, and my wish to help other employees succeed.”
S: You specify exactly what employee you will mentor and this makes the goal specific.
M: The growth of the person you mentor will help make this measurable.
A: As long as the employee you choose is willing, this goal is achievable. If that employee isn’t willing, you can still achieve the goal by working with someone else.
R: Mentoring someone else is very relevant to getting a promotion as it shows you care about the welfare of the employees and are willing to help others succeed in order to make this a better company.
T: Limiting the mentorship to six months makes the goal time-bound.
11. Improve customer service satisfaction.
“I will improve customer satisfaction over the coming six months. This will require me to first set up a survey to see our current score and then analyze it to see where improvements need to be made. I will then work on those areas. I will poll the customers at the three-month point and the six-month point to make sure my efforts are working.”
S: In this statement, you lay out exactly what you will do to achieve the desired goal. This is fairly specific although you may want to wait until you do the first survey and then specify what needs to be improved.
M: The periodic surveys make this a measurable goal.
A: This is important enough to make it worth your time yet easy enough to make it attainable.
R: Knowing what customers are unsatisfied with and focusing on that makes improving their satisfaction relevant.
T: By giving yourself six months to realize improvement, you make this goal time-bound.
The benefits of creating SMART goals can make a big difference in your life. If you still feel as if you need a bit of guidance to get started, you can try using worksheets, which will provide a visual image of where you want to go and how to get there.
You have dreams. Now is the time to turn them into reality by creating goals for yourself. You deserve to reach the highest summits you can… you simply need to visualize yourself climbing to the top!
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.