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I've been looking for a good way to set goals and can't decide which is a right fit for me. I'm to the point of just breaking out Notepad and write stuff in. I know that won't work for very long.

I have seen "SMART" all over the place whenever I do a search for this. Here I found this helpful question, Methods for Goal Setting

Specifically on SMART, what would goal setting look like if you did not use the SMART system? Where does that system disagree with other systems? Again, I mention SMART because that seems to be the most popular system, at least with Internet searching it does.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

With SMART goals, you can readily verify whether you achieved your goals. Therefore corporations often like them as part of employee evaluations.

A non-SMART goal would be something that doesn't satisfy the five criterias, for instance "This fall I am going to become a better Java programmer". That goal is vague and hard to measure. A SMART variant would be "Before December, I will have taken class X in Java and passed the corresponding certification exam." That said, it doesn't mean SMART is better.

While probably useful for your new year's resolutions, SMART goals tend to be static if the timeframe is long. In effect, you may end up using the dreaded Waterfall model. An alternative to using such goals is adopting an agile approach, for instance Personal Kanban, where you come up with tasks and put them in a backlog which is periodically reviewed and updated.

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I would not consider that a good SMART goal example. The example goal has either a plan and goal in it or two goals. Part1) taking X classes 2) Java Certification. I would consider the taking X classes how someone is planning on reaching the goal. What happens if something needs to change and classes get left out for some mentoring/good book, etc. and the Java certification is still achieved? Since the number of classes did not reach X, but the certification was earned, is that goal meet or not? I would be cautious about adding in HOW into a goal. –  Stephen B. Burris Jr. Oct 4 '13 at 4:21
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X is simply meant to represent a specific Java course. X is not a variable for a number. –  Gruber Oct 4 '13 at 5:38

SMART is a way of working goals. There are other frameworks that helps you achieve your goals. I personaly use the MT framework (Measureable and Timely).

You can listen to Manager Tools' podcasts on the subject:

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