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How to be S.M.A.R.T with Goals

Nurses Article   (7,137 Views 3 Comments 827 Words)
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The new year is just around the corner, let's get ready writing our S.M.A.R.T goals.

How to be S.M.A.R.T with Goals

With the new year lurking around the corner, let's talk goals! Now, I am not advocating for new year's resolutions, as these usually fall by the wayside by early late January. I am talking goals! S.M.A.R.T Goals! I know you have heard about these and probably even use this method of goal writing for patients. But, let's be selfish for just a few minutes and talk about personal and professional goals and why we need them.

First, goals hold us accountable. If we never create a formal goal, we never move forward. We won't go back to school, leave a job we no longer like or learn more about a new area of nursing. Second, without set goals, things we want to accomplish tend to become mountains, when they are but a gentle rolling hill. By creating a formal goal, we can take something with lots of unknowns or steps and make it tangible and achievable. Finally, setting goals allows us to achieve maximum results. Think of someone you know who is successful. Ask them if they make goals. Chances are, they set goals and work to achieve them. Success is not achieved by chance.

When setting goals, remember the acronym S.M.A.R.T. Goals should be:






Creating S.M.A.R.T Goals:

Specific - What am I doing to do? - Goals must be well-defined in order to be met. Be as detailed as possible. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to create a plan and what you are working to meet.

For example, if you are considering returning to school, you may write a goal to help you set the vision. When you create the goal, you would want to be specific about school, such as nursing school, type of degree or even the school you plan to attend.

Measurable - How will I know I met the goal? - Goals must be measurable so that you know that you have met the goal you set. When goals are vague, it is hard to set a vision for meeting the goal. Without the ability to measure the goal, you will never know if you actually met it.

For the example above, your measurement may be the date of graduation. Along the way, you may set goals for application to the program or for specific projects along the way.

Achievable - Is this something I can do? What will I need? - While goals should be challenging, they should not be out of reach. When you are setting goals, make sure it is something you can reach. Challenge brings growth, but so does success. Create goals that are challenging but within your reach. Part of creating achievable goals is determining all the resources you will need to be successful along the way. Make a list of resources needed to reach your goal.

Realistic - Can I reach the goal? What are some possible problems along the way? - Goals should be something you believe you can reach. When we set unrealistic goals, failure is likely to follow.

When setting the goal for school, I would have to consider all of the other commitments and responsibilities I would have while in school. I can't set the goal to be a full-time student if my work schedule will not afford me the ability to go to school full time. You must be realistic in order to be successful.

Timely - Can I do this in a reasonable timeframe? - Making a schedule in which to achieve your goal is all about accountability. Creating a deadline will help you to stay committed. You may need to break a goal down into multiple steps with different timelines. This helps you to achieve small successes along the way. Each time you hit a milestone, celebrate! Rewarding yourself for successes is part of the beauty of setting goals. Once you achieve, celebrate your hard work before moving on to the next goal.

Often, it is best to set both short-term and long-term goals. Maybe a few goals are set to be achieved within 30-60 days and other goals will take 6 months or more to achieve. This again, provides you with the ability to meet goals at a different time and celebrate success along the way.

Goals help us to be the successful person we know we can be. Dr. Seuss said it best, "Only you can control your future." What goals are you working towards right now? Do you have a dream that you are just not sure how to start? Are you goal driven and use S.M.A.R.T goals? Tell me where you are on your journey and what types of goals you are working towards.


Melissa Mills is a nurse who is on a journey of exploration and entrepreneurship. She is a healthcare writer who specializes in case management and leadership. When she is not in front of a computer, Melissa is busy with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a fat cat named Little Dude.

77 Likes, 6 Followers, 86 Articles, 18,875 Visitors, and 232 Posts.

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