Articles, Blog

How to Set and Achieve SMART Goals: Crash Course Business – Soft Skills #9

October 11, 2019

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a spy. The midnight phone calls. The cool gadgets. The secret missions. But I grew up. I changed. And I’m living out those dreams on a slightly
different path. Now, I’m a full-time digital storyteller, which means
late nights wrapping up projects, an expensive video camera, and some non-disclosure agreements. And I got here by setting small goals that
were clear, doable, and ambitious. I know things can seem a bit overwhelming
when you’re out of school, there are no more grades, and all of a sudden people are
talking about five-year plans when it feels like you don’t know what’s happening in
five weeks. But we’ve got you. So today, your mission — should you choose
to accept it — is to learn how to set achievable goals. I’m Evelyn from the Internets. And this is Crash Course Business: Soft Skills. [Intro Music Plays] Let’s face it, we all have dreams. And we all want to achieve them, no matter
if they’re big like, “I want to write an Oscar-winning screenplay” or small, like,
“I just want to finish this script, right now.” Looking toward the future is scary and muddled. Every little decision you make seems like
it’s really high stakes. At some point, your hopes and fears and insecurities
might get all mixed together as your brain starts to panic, and all of a sudden you’re
having a quarter-life crisis in your 20s. Like, “Am I actually achieving anything
in my life?” I know I’ve been there. But you can limit this anxiety by setting
some SMART goals that break down your big plans into manageable steps. And I don’t mean “smart” like responsible,
although it never hurts to budget your travel expenses or think about building a 401k. Your parents would be proud. SMART is another one of those business-y acronyms. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Ambitious,
Realistic, and Timely. So first of all, your SMART goal should be
specific, clear, and easy to understand. “Do your best” may be a great mantra or
motivational poster, but it’s too vague to be a helpful goal. Breaking down a big goal into smaller, specific
action steps will let you see results, which will lower that “am I actually getting anywhere?” anxiety. Second, you can’t see results without
knowing what they look like, which is why SMART goals should also be measurable. If you’re not measuring anything, how are
you going to look back at everything you’ve accomplished? So make sure each step comes with numbers
to help you see clear benchmarks. For example, instead of “stop the bad guy
and save the world,” try “complete 3 missions from M this month.” Now, you might be tempted to set relatively
easy small goals, so you can check them off and fill that craving we all have for instant
gratification. But you should also be ambitious with your
SMART goal. You’ll work harder and your results will
last longer if you’re challenged. Like, you probably didn’t pay attention
in classes where you were bored. Then, you want to strike a balance between
challenging and realistic SMART goals. Unless you’re Tom Cruise, mission impossible
really needs to be mission challenging-yet-probable. Goals that are too ambitious can be frustrating,
rather than motivating. You might be making gradual progress. But if you don’t hit that super-far-out
target, you might have a nagging feeling that you’re a failure… and that can really
weigh you down. It’s kind of like being upset that you didn’t
lock up the bad guy forever, and losing sight of the fact that you still thwarted
his evil plan. If you want to push a little bit farther,
you can set a stretch goal. But make sure there’s a minimum where you’re
still happy. It’s like Kickstarter for your brain! Like, if you’ve spiffed up your secret underground
base, your stretch goal may be to build yourself another jetpack! And finally, make sure your SMART goals are
always timely. Because without a timeline, you might keep
pushing your goal off to… someday. And when you get busy, someday never seems
to come. If your big goals are complex, like “run
your own spy agency by age 25,” you may need 3 to 4 subgoals with smaller timelines,
like, “stop Shego 4 times this year” or “partner with Wade to create a new gadget
this month.” And remember when we talked about under promising
and over delivering? We all generally have a hard time understanding
how long things are going to take. So set a few incremental deadlines, so you
won’t be up doing an entire project the night before. But find a balance. Tight deadlines can be motivating but also
really stressful. If you’ve got 24 hours to stop a supervillain,
you’ll work fast, but your blood pressure may be through the roof. Now, if you’re trying to process all these
tips and still aren’t entirely sure what you’re aiming for in the first place, make
your SMART goal a learning goal. Learning goals, like setting up an informational
interview per week, help you figure out what you need to do and what goals you should set
as benchmarks along that path. But even if you put a lot of work into crafting
some awesome, motivating SMART goals, life can just… happen. Things change. Your priorities might shift as you learn more
about yourself, or you could have to deal with an unexpected setback like an injury
or layoff, which can send anyone reeling. So if you feel you need to adjust your timeline
or abandon a goal, it’s not necessarily a failure, even though it might feel like
one. It’s gonna be okay. There’s only so much time in a day, and
goal quality matters more than goal quantity. So you’ve got to think about what’s most
important to you. If you’re trying to save the world and also
study for that math test, you may need to put a 4.0 GPA on the backburner. But there’s a difference between adjusting
priorities and giving up with a “what the heck!” just because something got hard. Balancing ambitious and realistic goals can
be tough, so be flexible with yourself. If you’re trying to save money, maybe say,
“I’m going to cook for myself this whole month… except for brunch on Sundays with
my girls.” [Evelyn can also swap this & the next line
out for a personal example] And if think you might struggle, set yourself
a fail-safe. It’s like a gentle consequence that pressures
you to stay on track. Like if you go out more than once, you have
to buy everyone’s mimosas. Goals and their fail-safes are powerful because
a lot of times, they’re about personal growth — the stuff that intrinsically motivates
you. But other times goals have extrinsic rewards,
like money or fame or power. There’s nothing wrong with doing a job for
the cash — private investigators can still bring in bad guys. But sometimes, extrinsic motivators can make
people want to game the system. Not necessarily because they’re bad people
doing bad things, but because the incentive structure is wrong. To see what I mean, let’s go to the Thought
Bubble. Let’s imagine you run a scrappy auto shop
in the heart of Gotham. With all those robberies and high-speed chases,
your work was steady… before a questionably dressed vigilante cleaned up the streets. Now, things are in a bit of a lull. So you set a goal for your auto mechanics
to bring in $150 dollars per hour. Your intent was good. But when you show up to work the next day,
there’s a really upset customer who thinks his Batmobile has spent too much time in the
shop. It turns out that this high pressure goal
led your mechanics to overcharge and do unnecessary work to raise their hourly sales. You hoped that your sales targets would increase
their work quantity without affecting the quality. Instead, you rewarded them for increasing
billable hours by keeping cars in the shop for too long… which is unethical. Essentially, in the words of business professors,
you “rewarded for A while hoping for B” To avoid falling into that trap, make sure
your goal actually encourages the behaviors you want. Think about the worst behavior you could accidentally
encourage and take precautions. To deter mechanics from doing unnecessary
work, you could create a ‘why so serious sales initiative’ and put customer satisfaction
survey links at the bottom of every receipt. Or you could set a flat price for each kind
of repair and monitor how long cars are in your shop with a detailed record system. And everyone likes appreciation, so giving
them /specific/ positive feedback for meeting goals in good ways can help keep your shop
under control. Thanks, Thought Bubble! SMART goals aren’t just for solo missions. If you’re a team of unstoppable super spies,
goals get everyone on the same page. But setting personal, individual project goals
for other people could lead to a mission breakdown. People have different priorities. Your demolitions expert probably cares about
different things than your data guy. And no one likes directives from an out-of-touch
bureaucrat. Or you may underestimate what your teammates
are capable of and set a goal that’s not ambitious enough. After all, many people put more pressure on
themselves than anyone else does. Or you could target the wrong incentives,
and a pay bonus for the most missions completed in a month could lead to team competition
instead of cooperation. So, bringing everyone together to agree on
one overarching team goal and set some individual goals will be motivating! And it’ll keep people from working against
each other [like Mr. and Mrs. Smith.] Even if your goals line up, no team is perfect. But clear communication, progress reports,
and feedback will help your mission run smoothly. And after all this goal talk, if you still
don’t exactly feel like you know what you’re doing or know how to reach your dreams…
welcome to adulthood. [Kidding. Sort of.] I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No one knows everything. No one is perfect. And everyone’s gotta start somewhere. So, if you or your team miss it by that much,
it’s okay. The best thing to do is to learn from your
mistakes. And keep moving forward to go after those
goals! So if you remember nothing else from today: Reduce goal anxiety by setting a SMART goal
that’s both ambitious and realistic. Prioritize your goals. As long as you’re not just giving up, having
to table a goal isn’t a failure. It’s being smart about your time. Avoid mission breakdown. Work with your team to set group goals that
consider everyone’s priorities. Set the right metrics. Make sure your goal doesn’t incentivize
the wrong behavior and reward for A while hoping for B. Next time, we’ll be talking about how to
get better at time management. Because we can all improve. I know you’ve said “ehhh, just one more
episode” at least once in your life. Crash Course Business is sponsored by Google and it’s made with the help of all these nice people and Thought Cafe is our
amazing animation team. Crash Course is a Complexly production. If you wanna keep imagining the world complexly
with us, you can check out some of our other channels like Healthcare Triage, where host
Dr. Aaron Carroll explains healthcare policy, medical research, and answers a lot of other
questions you may have about medicine, health, and healthcare. Also, if you’d like to keep Crash Course
free for everybody, forever, you can support the series at Patreon; a crowdfunding platform
that allows you to support the content you love. Thank you to all of our patrons for making
Crash Course possible with their continued support.

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  • Reply S0 S0S0 May 8, 2019 at 8:49 pm


  • Reply Nico Lechat May 8, 2019 at 8:49 pm


  • Reply Zack Fleming May 8, 2019 at 8:50 pm


  • Reply Legs of Octopus • Food & Lifestyle May 8, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    I love this video and this series 😊

  • Reply Diana Garcia May 8, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Well done.

  • Reply Avery the Cuban-American May 8, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Smart goals? Are the goals smarter than Einstein

  • Reply NATIVE LATINOS Fook TRUMP May 8, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    🌹Look up philosophy on YouTube what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger

  • Reply avi12 May 8, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    2:20 I finished school more than half a year ago, and I feel a similar feeling – except instead of feeling like I'm a failure, I feel like I wasted quite a bit of time and I'm not sure what's the best step forward

  • Reply Baqer Jawad Al-Lawati May 8, 2019 at 8:58 pm


  • Reply SupramangLives May 8, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    Stellar content, we must remain vigilant

  • Reply Ranger Ruby May 8, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Goals are very hard to understand and achieve because they can be so broad and unreachable. This video really gives you a formula that is easy to follow and will help you cut down on your goals.

  • Reply listen listen listen listen listen listen May 8, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    I LOVE that you’re covering this! I just took a class on social work burnout and SMART goals was the center of the class. It’s such a wonderful way to achieve anything and everything, including self-care.

  • Reply William_Studio May 8, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Well done! But 7 views and 10 likes, LOL.

  • Reply Yak Attack May 8, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Always heard A stands for Attainable

  • Reply Yak Attack May 8, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    You can also add ER (evaluate / repeat) and make a SMARTER goal

  • Reply Victor Vergara May 8, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    As a assistant senior patrol leader I went through a lot of leadership training in fact I took a camp on developing leadership skills. SMART goals and knowing of Forming Storming Norming and Preforming. These skills are paramount.

  • Reply Issy to Bizzy May 8, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    This really helped (I've been having trouble getting motivated for school and getting assignments done and I've been leaving it to the last minute and not knowing if I was getting everything done until the night before) so this helped with some new ideas on how to get it done.

  • Reply KingsleyIII May 8, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    I've been taught that the "A" in "S.M.A.R.T." was "Attainable." Ask yourself, "Is this goal within my ability to successfully do?"

  • Reply Samuel E. W-C May 8, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Was this made for me? Lol too relatable

  • Reply Flaming Basketball Club May 8, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Is Crash Course Linguistics coming?

  • Reply D Parihar May 8, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Smart goal number 1 – I am going to lose half of the weight before I finish my 25th crash video.
    Sub goal 1 – I'll join a gym today.
    Sub goal 2 – I'll fix an appointment with a nutritionist
    Sub goal 3 – Stick to my commitments.
    I love you host. THANKYOU FOR THE VIDEO.

  • Reply Zaman Fahim Imteaz May 8, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    A for Attainable

  • Reply History Center May 8, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    Kim Possible

  • Reply Rinzler May 8, 2019 at 11:48 pm


  • Reply Rey Valdovinos May 8, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    Nursing care plans lol

  • Reply Bams Gian May 9, 2019 at 12:05 am

    I don't feel got any motivated, I feel like "just give up" don't dream too high

  • Reply WickedOmenOfThunder May 9, 2019 at 12:08 am

    So for the young foxes among us: these steps might seem simple. These steps might feel underwhelming or overwhelming. But dont worry : Try to keep these goals in mind and the many others of this channel. They will put you one step ahead even when you feel like your 5 steps behind. Reality is knowing what you wanted, where you ended and why. Next time you'll use that knowledge. The expert aren't that far ahead, they just look that way.

  • Reply Bryn Whitehead May 9, 2019 at 12:18 am

    deep sigh

  • Reply Parker Wissman May 9, 2019 at 12:25 am


  • Reply nantukoprime May 9, 2019 at 12:27 am

    Here is a warning: your employer is going to set goals for you, as the video shows. They are not always directly financial to the business, but they might be to you. Make sure these don't throw a wrench in your personal goals, or your morals. My last employer required 10 hours of volunteer work a week for one of the non-profits they support. The one before that required an additional certification every six months and would only reimburse a passing test. They would also not reimburse yearly continuing education costs on those certifications.

    A cautionary tale: In the US, financial advisors are sometimes given sweetheart deals by firms as a sign on. This is usually in the form of a loan that is forgiven over five consecutive years of working at the firm. This loan is meant for financial advisors to invest and demonstrate to their clients that the products they recommend are also products they invest in. The corporate mores tell a different tale, and that is clients expect a financial advisors to look successful. Nice suits, a nice car, a nice house, a golf club membership, a wife and kids, etc. Most use the majority of the loan for that, and it can come around and bite them if they quit or are fired. Since it is a forgiveness loan, the firm comes for the remainder that might not exist if they are buying into the corporate culture. I've heard some nightmare tales of people following the corporate and client expectations and coming out the worse for it.

  • Reply MrsCyImsofly May 9, 2019 at 1:53 am

    You can have specialized goals when you have across the board clarity in your vision (architecture) it allows you to see how the pivot impacts your goals and gives you a better tally of ROI.

  • Reply OMNIBOT May 9, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Sounds Great But do you know what makes you S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

    Agility and Luck

  • Reply kyejin jeon May 9, 2019 at 3:59 am

    Thank you for this good information about making the goal!

  • Reply Dr Andrey May 9, 2019 at 4:59 am

    My like num 666, feel bliss 💙💛

  • Reply Par Kla May 9, 2019 at 6:03 am

    You don't even have the acronym right. A – attainable R- relevant

  • Reply Aaron Frier May 9, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Obtaining a position that requires troubleshooting, typing and if I'm lucky database views should have been obtainable. Now my year of job searching is almost up and it's already time to start a master's. However, that job "is a part of the education," says everyone.

  • Reply Aman Tiwari May 9, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Thanks crash course

  • Reply aytas23 May 9, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Thank you for this. I'm an experienced scientist already over 10 years into my field of employment…yet for me this has been useful to understand future goal making

  • Reply Ana Iancu May 9, 2019 at 10:44 am

    thank you!

  • Reply Viktor Dorokhov May 9, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    And if you are a "mechanic" and you have to work 10-12 hours per day and your goals don't matter than… welcome to adulthood. (and don't even get me started, i'm 30 y/o PhD)

  • Reply Galaxy gamer May 9, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    I want to acheive something ,but without maths.

  • Reply Mermaid Atlantica May 9, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    Hands up if you here as a nursing student tryna careplan and not learn about how somebody grew up and developed a 5 year plan.

    A does not stand for ambitious. It stands for Attainable or Achievable. Theres no point in setting goals you cannot achieve. A smart goal is not ambitious, a SMART goal is attainable.

  • Reply m May 9, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    what's the best app for this?

  • Reply Me May 9, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    I still wanna be a spy, c'mon

  • Reply Denis Robert May 9, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Uuughh. HR scamspeak alert!!! SMART is one of those acronyms high-fee business consultants use to fleece corporations of money that should be going to providing employees with decent health and pension benefits. Next video on Meyer-Briggs?

  • Reply SCdreamdrawer May 9, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Putting priorities on the back burner, like trading success in college for my personal health and survival, has caused me to fail classes and get suspended by FAFSA. But at least I am still alive…so I have to get effective treatment and prove I am "mentally stable" within 2 months in order to attend college next semester. Oh, and I travelled to this U.S. university from IRELAND. … Maybe I can make a good story out of this later down the road?

  • Reply jettae schroff May 10, 2019 at 3:05 am

    The lung capacity of this guy is OVER 9000!

  • Reply Miles Kelley May 10, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Feel like switching the A to ambitious is a bad move. People that struggle to structure their goals and process have a tendency toward goals that are too big, and rarely pick goals that are too small. Encouraging people to choose ambition instead of attainable will cause a lot of people to stall out and achieve less.

  • Reply Alejandro Urquieta May 10, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you 🙏🏽

  • Reply Reggie Vuna May 11, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    AAAHHHHHHH MY INTERNET SISTTTERRR!!!! So damn happy to see her on here‼️‼️‼️

  • Reply P L May 11, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! How much did I pay a college to teach me this "soft" skill? Don't care… the single most important concept ever; personally and professionally. This is a magnificent use of the public platform! I love this show…

  • Reply Mr. Wallet May 12, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    It's sad that we have prepared the next generation of adults so poorly that 2/3 of an episode of a show ostensibly about soft skills in business has to be devoted to the formulation and pursuit of goals. That's not a business soft skill, that's a core aspect of so-called "adulting".

  • Reply Jesse Hatred May 13, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Had to stop watching a minute in because I don't have dreams or goals anymore.

  • Reply Sonja Johnson May 13, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Regarding "It's okay to table a goal" – it's also okay to keep plugging away at it in small amounts if that's something that works better. Sometimes that won't work, obviously. You can't always quit half way through a task. But especially if it's a big project, doing a little every day is a valid way to make progress. It's also not a sign of failure to take longer at a given task or goal than some other person. I've had to remind myself of all this quite frequently. My biggest struggle has always been that first step, though.

  • Reply Raifah Lunat May 14, 2019 at 6:17 pm


  • Reply Kat Brooks May 14, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    I love these videos so much!

  • Reply Zhu Bajie May 15, 2019 at 12:18 am

    "I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”-Dwight Eisenhower

  • Reply klifrann West May 15, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    There's no tricks just work really hard with discipline!! That's all

  • Reply mangolollipop May 15, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    I'm a commerce student and my friend who is a nerdfighter reminded me why your channel exists. My tutor used one of your videos to explain globalisation and this business video is helping me with my soft skills. Thanks

  • Reply Brian Hutzell May 17, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    ''Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever- growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.'' – attributed (possibly apocryphally) to Daniel Burnham

  • Reply gaeb1811 May 18, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Guys, does any of you have advise on how to define a challenging but realistic deadline?

    In my experience, most of the times giving a goal a challenging but still achivable deadline is very very hard to estimate. What ends up happening is that you either put a deadline thats too easy to achieve or one that is too hard, compromising the challenging (or the attainable) part of the goal.

    For example, if you are a tennis player and set a goal of "entering the top 100 players". How do you set a challenging but realistic time to that? You getting there depends on a lot of elements of randomness like the performance of other players, the speed of your mental evolution, your coach, etc etc. All of that makes it very hard to estimate a realistic deadline, and in life most things works he same way …

  • Reply olivia adel May 19, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    can u add any document resources for further information about this topic ?

  • Reply Michael Tkaczevski May 22, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    9:19 If you cut the wrong wire by thaaat much, you and yo— BOOOOOOOOM

  • Reply Luke Fairbanks May 25, 2019 at 7:06 am

    Could y'all stop doing that slice sound all the time? I know it's a nice sound, but don't use it all the time

  • Reply Glenn Nile May 28, 2019 at 2:11 am

    A goal for actors on youtube could be "how to keep your eyes from moving while you are reading from a TelePrompter.

  • Reply Sining Tadhana June 3, 2019 at 12:02 am

    Based on what I learned in school, SMART means: specific, measurable, achievable/attainable, realistic, and time-bounded. Maybe each school, university, group, or company have their own definition of what the acrobym stands for. 🙂

  • Reply Евгений Цымбал June 11, 2019 at 10:44 am

    So interesting topic and so annoying speaker. That’s lame…( 😒

  • Reply Jade Damboise Rail August 9, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    An example of rewarding the wrong thing is in the office when they set a prize for the branch that looses the most collective weight to fight obesity. It leads to one character being in the hospital because she went on an unhealthy juice cleanse for days, eating nothing, and also lead to arguments between employees and doing things like taking away unhealthy food or berating people.

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