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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

5 Reasons Why It Is Important for Goals to Be Measurable

5 Reasons Why It Is Important for Goals to Be Measurable
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The secret to a successful life is effective goal setting, and the secret to effective goal setting is SMART goals. The magic wand that works it wonders in SMART goals is the ‘M.’

Do you why it’s so important for goals to be measurable? This one property plays the role of the backbone in SMART goals. It eases the way for the rest of the process and increases your chances of moving forward successfully.

Today, you’ll find out all about the significance of measurable goals and how they can enhance your ability to achieve goals in life!

What Are Measurable Goals?

Let’s start by reminding you what SMART goals are and what exactly the ‘M’ stands for.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

1. Specific

Specificity is self-explanatory. It means that your goals shouldn’t be general or broad. Instead, they should pinpoint all the details. However, you also need to make sure that while making the goals specific, you don’t overcomplicate them. Answer the what, why, how as simply and clearly as possible.

2. Achievable

Whatever goal you plan should be realistic. If it’s not achievable, it’s not a goal but only a wish. The difference between a desire and a goal is that the latter can be ticked off with the right efforts.

For example, a wish would be to reach the moon. This on its own is pretty unachievable. However, if you set multiple achievable goals, such as joining an astronaut training program at NASA, you may one day step on the moon for real.

3. Relevant

Relevance is extremely significant. Your goals should be relevant to your life’s ideology, your morals, your long-term plans, and also the current circumstances. If you’re already preoccupied with a lot of responsibilities, it’s not a good idea to start something completely new.

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Similarly, going for a goal that is irrelevant to your current lifestyle will put you in major jeopardy. For example, you can’t aim to learn water skiing if you’re living in a desert land.

4. Time-Bound

Time-bound goals set a time limit on your goals—you don’t have room to slack. Whatever you plan needs to have a defined due date as well.

5. Measurable

Now let’s talk about the most important part—measurable goals.

How do you measure a goal? Basically, this factor is an accountability plan for yourself. By devising measurable goals, you define what exactly will make you successful.

Let’s say you intend to increase your income. How will you know how much increase is enough to tick off the goal from your list?

On the other hand, if you clarify that you want a 10% increase in your current income, once you get there, you’ll know you’ve done it.

Not only does this set a standard for you to reach, but it is also a source of motivation. Without a measure, you might overachieve but still not be satisfied.

The Importance of Measurable Goals

SMART goals have 5 factors. Why is it the most important for goals to be measurable in specific?

Well, the answer is simple. Being measurable automatically fulfills the criteria of the other 4 aspects. Here’s how this happens!

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1. Measurable Goals Are Specific

When you’re making a goal measurable, you’re naturally adding more specificity to it.

Look at it this way:

Initially, you had a goal in mind to get fit. However, you cannot really measure anything in this goal. To make it more measurable, you decide to add exercise to your daily routine. It will help you gain stamina, lose the extra inches, and strengthen your muscles.

Once again, you still can’t measure your progress. So eventually, you narrow it down to working out 15 minutes every day.

In this goal, you’re basically measuring how much fitness you want to add to your lifestyle while also making it specific. In fact, you have added more detail this way than you would have if you were trying consciously.

This isn’t any rocket science. Yet, it can be confusing when you’re under the pressure of planning effective goals. So, it’s helpful that simply adding the aspect of measure makes your goals so much clearer and well-defined.

2. Measurable Goals Are Achievable

As previously mentioned, goals that aren’t achievable aren’t goals at all. It is very important to plan something attainable. Otherwise, no matter how well you plan everything and how much you struggle for it, you’ll never reach your desired destination.

There is a fine line between getting unrealistic and going the extra mile. It’s great to want to reach new ends. But sometimes, this ambition can detract you and lead you to something impossible.

For example, it is great if you want to expand your work expertise. Despite working in the sales department for 10 years, you now want to start experimenting in the marketing department as well. Your aim is simply to broaden your skillset.

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While this intent is positive, if you plan a goal to work in both the departments side by side, that will be something unrealistic.

If you catch yourself in a confusing state like this, focus your attention on making the goal measurable. It will naturally start becoming more achievable too.

So, what you can do is measure how much expertise you want to increase in the department of marketing. A good example of this wanting to play a marketing executive’s role flawlessly by the end of the month. Furthermore, you can decide to utilize the 1-hour lunch break to learn these skills.

This will give you a set precedent. Meanwhile, you won’t have to overdo things on the marketing side or let go of your responsibilities in the sales department.

3. Measurable Goals Are Relevant

Measurable goals aren’t directly relevant. But if you put in a conscious effort, these two factors get linked very easily.

When you’re measuring a goal to make sure you can track the progress, you subconsciously know in the back of your mind whether or not it can be achieved. This subconscious sound in your mind is reminding you of the goal’s relevance to your ongoing life routine.

Measurable goals need to be precise. When adding this precision to your goals, you get a clear idea of whether or not the goal can fit in your life at the moment or not.

For example, if you plan to add an hour-long workout session to all 7 days of your week, you can get a sense of whether or not you have enough time to fit it in or not.

4. Measurable Goals Are Time-Bound

Time constraints are pretty natural in measurable goals.

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Time-bound goals can be divided into 4 main categories; immediate goals, short-term goals, medium-term goals, and long-term goals.[1] So, based on how you’re measuring your progress, you can add a time limit to it.

Let’s say you’ve started an online blog that you want to take forward. Your measurable goal can be that you want to increase the readership from 350 to 500 people per month. Now, whether you want to do that in one month, six months, or one year is a vital part of this goal.

Time-bound goals give you a sense of a deadline so you’re less likely to procrastinate. Hence, your productivity increases.

5. Measurable Goals Give You a Clear Sense of Direction

With specificity and relevance, such goals lead you to a very clear path. There is no blurry vision, you’re well aware of what you’re aiming for, and the entire process is pretty much clear in your head.

Technically, measurable goals define every aspect of your goals so clearly that there is no room left for confusion—there is no room for haphazardness. You won’t get lost in the way. This clarity itself is a huge bliss when you’re aiming for big goals.

Knowing your direction increases your motivation and hence, helps you achieve what you desire quicker and better. Since there are no obstacles in a path like this, your inner self drives you to work harder too. So, if you’re someone who struggles with achieving goals, try making them more measurable for better outcomes.

Conclusion

What matters the most is that whatever you work hard for, you can achieve it. The toughest parts of life are when all your efforts go to waste.

A fool-proof way to keep these dark days at bay is to always develop SMART goals. Whether you’re planning something for work or your personal life, opt for SMART goals in every part of your life to receive success.

What’s even better is that you don’t even have to struggle with all the 5 factors of SMART goals. As long you put in the thought to make them measurable, your goals will inevitably be as SMART as they can be.

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Neither is this process time-consuming nor is it hard to implement in your daily life. So, without wasting any more time, start making your goals more measurable for increased motivation, organized life, and higher chances of success!

More Articles About Effective Goal Setting

Featured photo credit: Isaac Smith via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Debt Slapped Grad: Time Bound Goals

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 25, 2021

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success
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If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

What Are Goals?

To kick off our goal setting guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

Objects vs goals for goal setting tips

    For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

    Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

    However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

    Why Is Goal Setting Important?

    Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?

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    While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

    Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

    Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

    Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

    Types of Goals

    Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting tips.

    These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.

    Time-Based

    One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.

    Daily

    There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

    Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

    Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.

    Short-Term

    Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

    The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.

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    Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

    Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.

    Long-Term

    Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

    Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

    Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

    There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

    They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.

    Life-Based

    Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.

    Career

    Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

    You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.

    Personal

    The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

    From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.

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    Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

    How to Set Goals

    The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

    1. Use SMART Goals

    Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-Bound

    In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

    If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

    There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

    2. Prioritize Your Goals

    As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

    3. Think of Those Around You

    As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

    If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

    4. Take Action

    Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

    You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!

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    5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

    Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

    You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

    I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

    How to Reach Your Goals

    You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.

    Tactics

    One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

    Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

    Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.

    Tools

    With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

    Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, using a goal setting tips guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

    Try out the tactics and goals setting tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

    More Tips on Achieving Success

    Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
    [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
    [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

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