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SMART goal setting is a productivity methodology designed to help you achieve your goals by improving the goals themselves. By ensuring all goals follow the 5 SMART criteria, you can create better goals and have a better chance of achieving them. The SMART criteria are:
Having specific goals helps make sure they are measurable and meaningful. If goals are too vague, it can be hard to know where to get started and how to track your progress. This can lead to frustration and ultimately failure to achieve the goals.
These are examples of goals that are too vague:
Instead, consider these more specific goals:
If your goal description adds too many unneeded words or descriptors, then it might become less appealing to try and work towards. A goal like:
...is way too specific and could do with less description and specific identifiers. A better way to say phrase that goal would be
Whenever you are trying to make a goal specific, remember to ask yourself these types of questions:
- Can someone else understand what I am trying to achieve?
- Could I make this goal more concise but still be able to understand the original goal?
Making your goals more specific might lead to a few more, smaller goals rather that one large, vague one. Following the example above, instead of (too vague):
Don't bombard yourself with too many small goals, keep the number manageable for what works for you.
It's hard to track progress on your goals if they aren't measurable. Having goals that can be measured helps you see your progress and can be very motivating! You don't necessarily need to use numerical or quantitative measures, either. Qualitative measures are still measures so long as they have meaning to you!
Bad examples that aren't measurable:
With measurements become:
Make sure the measures you use are appropriate. If your goal is "Get healthy," (which, by the way, is not very specific), don't measure purely by weight. Try alternative measures to ensure you're getting the whole picture and not focusing on the wrong thing. Examples to make your goals more measurable include adding an element of time or counting, as shown in the reading and sit-ups examples. You might consider changing your goal from a Daily to a Habit to encourage you to perform the task more than once a day.
The goal should not just be realistic, it must be realistic for you. Different people have different capabilities, and just because a goal is suitable for someone else doesn't mean it isn't too difficult or too easy for you.
Don't be afraid to aim high, but it's often best to start small so you don't lose motivation in the face of a huge goal. This can be done by breaking down big goals into smaller ones.
This applies not only to the goal itself, but also to the way you measure it. Make sure the goal you're working toward is something that is tangible and important to you! "Make my bed every day" might be a good goal for many, but if you really, truly find you feel no better coming home to a made bed, skip that one. Find goals that matter to you.
You might be surprised how helpful supporting goals can be to your overall success. Using examples from the above section, if your overall goal is to run a 5k race, you can get extra motivation for completing that goal by doing some research about running. That research may not directly contribute to actually running the race, but is relevant to your overall goal and can provide extra motivation that makes it easier for you to complete that goal.
Most goals should have some kind of reasonable time limit to keep yourself motivated and prevent stagnation.
might be more motivating and achievable than:
Another optional way of making goals timely is to add regularly scheduled status/progress checks using Dailies into the goal. An example would be:
You can make a Daily appear every week by making it repeat every 7 days.
Keep in mind this is different than making your goal measurable. Timely is when you want to accomplish the goal, measurable is how much you want to do to meet your goal.
To learn more about SMART goals, see: