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Why ‘M’ = Measurable

Posted by on March 5th, 2013 with 0 Comments

The SMART acronym has been around for over 30 years, but there’s little agreement on what it actually stands for.

Based on my studies of over 400 published works that reference the SMART acronym, my application of the SMART framework for more than 15 years, and my discussions with leading goals practitioners, I am proposing a standard definition of SMART:

S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Aggressively Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bound

No single aspect of that definition is hugely debatable. It’s the combination that’s up for grabs. It seems like everyone wants to change ‘just one variable’ in the equation.

Sorry, but I think this is the best definition.

Each day this week, I will review other words that have been used in the SMART acronym and briefly explain why I think they are not the best choice.

Today, we’ll review definitions have been used with the letter ‘M’.

  • Magical: What? Nope. Sorry. I have no printable response to this.
  • Magnetic: I guess this means it’s attractive to the goal-setter. In that case, it falls under ‘Relevant’.
  • Maintainable: I would put this under ‘Attainable’. A goal isn’t really attainable unless you can achieve and maintain it.
  • Manageable: If it isn’t ‘manageable’, it isn’t ‘Attainable’.
  • Mapped to goals: This falls under ‘Relevant’. Any goal has to be mapped to your ‘bigger picture’.
  • Meaningful: If it isn’t ‘meaningful’, it isn’t ‘Relevant’.
  • Measured: Same as ‘Measurable’.
  • able to be Monitored: This falls under ‘Measurable’. It you can’t monitor it, it isn’t measurable.
  • Motivating/Motivational: I have three problems with the idea of ‘Motivating’ goals. First, I can’t pretend to guess what’s motivating to you. Second, if a goal’s not ‘Motivating’, it’s either not ‘Relevant’ or not ‘Attainable’. Third, research shows that goals – by their very nature – are motivating.
    I’ll be addressing motivation in a separate post – it’s really important, but it belongs under ‘Attainable’ and ‘Relevant’.

Well, that’s it.
I think it’s clear that ‘Measurable’ is the best definition for the ‘M’ in SMART.

Feel free to post below if you disagree.

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