Appendix 4. SMART Objectives

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1. Specific

Specific means that the objective is concise, clear, detailed, focused and well defined. That is the objective is straightforward, emphasises action and the required outcome. Objectives need to communicate what you would like to see happen. To aid in the setting of specific objectives it helps to ask the following questions:

Diagnostic Questions

  • What exactly are we going to do, with or for whom? What strategies will be used?
  • Is the objective well understood?
  • Is the objective described with action verbs? Is it clear who is involved?
  • Is it clear where this will happen? Is it clear what needs to happen? Is the outcome clear?

2. Measurable

If the objective is measurable, it means that the measurement source is identified and it is possible to track the results of our actions, as progress is made towards achieving the objective. Measurement is the standard used for comparison and enables us to know when we have achieved our objective.

Diagnostic Questions

  • How will I know that the change has occurred?
  • Can these measurements be obtained?
  • What will be measured?

3. Achievable

Objectives need to be achievable, if the objective is too far in the future, it will be difficult to keep motivated and to strive towards it’s attainment. Objectives, unlike aspirations and visions, need to be achievable to keep motivation going. Whilst being obtainable, objectives still need to stretch you, but not so far that you become frustrated and lose motivation.

Diagnostic Questions

  • Can we get it done in the proposed timeframe?
  • Do I understand the limitations and constraints?
  • Can we do this with the resources we have?
  • Has anyone else done this successfully?

4. Realistic

Objectives that are achievable, may not be realistic, however, realistic does not mean easy. Realistic means that you have the resources to get it done. The achievement of an objective requires resources, such as, skills, money, equipment, etc. to support the tasks required to achieve the objective. Most objectives are achievable but, may require a change in your priorities to make them happen

Diagnostic Questions

  • Do I have the resources available to achieve this objective?
  • Do I need to revisit priorities in my life to make this happen?
  • Is it possible to achieve this objective?

5. Time-bound

Time-bound means setting deadlines for the achievement of the objective. Deadlines create the all important sense of urgency. If you don’t set a deadline, you will reduce the motivation and urgency required to execute the tasks. Deadlines create the necessary urgency and prompts action.

Diagnostic Questions

  • When will this objective be accomplished?
  • Is there a stated deadline?

6. Examples

Tablea A4.1.jpg
Table A4.1 Example of SMART Objectives