Success clearly is about being able to think differently, being able to think creatively and being able to find alternatives to accepted popular beliefs! To achieve success in this age one should develop SMART goals. The 'S' in the acronym refers to 'System', and 'sustainable',while the 'M' refers to 'Method', 'A' refers to 'Active', 'R' refers to 'Research', and 'T', refers to 'Time bound!' To achieve success, one has to have a goal that addresses the system. Here I am talking about one's ability to break a problem into a 'Systematic' process. To achieve success, one needs to have some idea about the 'Method' that will help one achieve success. Success depends on one's ability to 'Research' on the topic. The 'T' stands for the ability to develop a 'Time-bound' plan to solve a problem. One needs to train ones' self to target SMART goals to achieve success in today's times.
I would like to analyse for the reader each component of the acronym SMART starting with the first letter 'S'. The word, 'System' refers to the concept of 'Systems Analysis,' which in turn refers to a systematic analysis of the goal. This entails breaking up the goal into its components in terms of analysing the process of identifying a specific goal, identifying the 'Big Idea', and formulating the steps one would take in order to put the goal into action. While identifying a SMART Goal, one should also examine and assess to the best of one's abilities whether the goal identified would be sustainable or not. Here, I would like to give an example of one of my students who wanted to take up Child Soldiers as the topic of his thesis paper in grade eleven. I had misgivings about the choice of topic but did not discourage him. After a few days he came to me and told me that he could not find much to research on the topic Child Soldiers, so he wanted to change the topic. I sighed a breath of relief! Child Soldiers was not a sustainable research topic apparently!
A SMART goal should also be based on a strong Method, and that is what the 'M' in SMART refers to. If you are planning on a startup, and your goal is to provide tailor made maintenance solutions for electronic gadgets, what is your method going to be for convincing clients to hire your services? How are you going to service defective gadgets? Will the client carry in their products, or are you going to pick them up? The method behind the goal is an important consideration for deciding whether it is SMART enough!
The third letter in the acronym SMART is 'A'. 'A' refers to Active, Action or Actionable. A goal can be SMART only if it is actionable, An important ponder able before selecting a SMART Goal is to examine whether it can really be put into action! It is very easy to choose a goal that seems impressive because 'it's different!' But then can we put the goal into action? Suppose you don't have funds nor the expertise, nor even contacts in the right places, would it be therefore, SMART on your part to have the Goal of setting up a refurbishing factory for computers and computer peripherals?
It goes without saying that every important decision that we take in life should be preceded by careful consideration and careful thought lest you should regret having made a wrong decision. In the poem Road not Taken, Robert Frost very clearly states that there were there were two choices before him early in life, to remain in America, or migrate to England. The latter option was the road less travelled because it entailed taking the risk of leaving everything he had and settling down in a strange country! The decision turned out to be he best choice he had made. Every SMART Goal in life should be supported by careful Research. The full form of the letter 'R' in SMART stands for Research. If your goal in life is to start a business, a startup for providing people with tailor made annual home renovation solutions, have you really researched the target population, or for example, the areas most likely to go for your services? Have you done enough research on what should be included in the contract and what should be excluded? The success of any goal will depend very strongly on the amount and quality of research that has gone into it!
Fixing deadlines and timelines plays an important role in deciding whether a particular Goal is SMART enough. Many years ago, countries that followed the Socialist Ideology, were obsessed wth five year, fifteen year and twenty year plans. These plans were often much hyped and did not succeed because the people who mattered did not take into consideration the S,M.A.R. letters in the acronym SMART! However, a SMART Goal based on Systems, Sustainability, Method, Action, and Research will have to take into consideration Timelines in order to be achievable. In fact one of the main reasons Goals fail is because they are not based on strict timelines. One of the favourite questions recruiters ask prospective employees is, 'Where do you see yourself five years from now?' Life is not endless, and you just cannot afford to postpone timelines, and deadlines, required by your goals. A successful goal in life should therefore be Time-bound and not subject to too many changes and postponements!