Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for success

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- "Goals are dreams with deadlines." ~ Diana Scharf Hunt

What personal or professional goals do you want to achieve this year? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to make that next rank?

Goal setting is a powerful tool that can turn a vision of the future into reality. Top athletes and successful people in all fields set achievable goals. As NCOs, we must set a positive example to others by setting achievable goals. SMART goals can help turn our dreams into reality.

According to AFPAM 36-2241, Professional Development Guide, setting improvement targets is vital to developing SMART targets. SMART is an acronym for five specific steps defined as:

Specific -- Have desirable outputs based on subject matter expert knowledge and experience that are applicable to the process improvement activity.

Measurable -- Includes time frames and data obtainable from specific sources.

Attainable -- Resources are available; may have some risk, but success is possible.

Results focused -- Linked to the mission, vision, and goals and are meaningful to the user.

Time bound -- Provide step-by-step views versus giant leaps that are measurable at interim.

NCOs must set specific and achievable goals to grow as leaders. For example, in 2012, I set a specific goal of running a half-marathon and trained six months beforehand. I set a specific and attainable goal of training two to three miles per day, five times a week. I increased my pace as the weeks went on. As a result, I completed the marathon and achieved my goal.

SMART goals are a valuable tool and can lead to both personal and professional success.