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Defining/Creating Goals


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How do you define or create goals for yourself (on either/both a personal and professional level)?

At one workplace, I was instructed to have "SMART" goals - i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. A different workplace had tried out SMART goals, found them ineffective, and instructed us to write "HARD" goals instead - Heartfelt, Animated, Required, and Difficult. To be perfectly honest, I didn't see a huge difference in my performance or ability to achieve goals that were written as SMART versus HARD. My takeaway was that it was crucial to be thoughtful about how goals are written and to clearly define and craft what the end result should look like (so that you know if you've accomplished it). However, the exact characteristics (SMART vs. HARD) were not as important.

Do you use a certain structure or method when engaging in goal-setting? Have you had to write goals that fit the SMART or HARD dynamic (or something else entirely)? If so, how effective was that dynamic for you? Did you notice a change in your ability to meet goals or feel more satisfaction in working toward completing them?

Here are a few articles that explain SMART and HARD goals in more detail, if you're curious: