Figuring Out Which Smart Goal to Set First
I recently decided to develop a goal around a new skill I would like to learn. Specifically, I’d like to learn how to create high-quality, attractive videos in Final Cut Pro. I already know a bit about FCP and am able to create functional videos quickly, but I have never been able to create clips with visually appealing titles, transitions and effects.
How to be a Smart “A” First
The “A” in S.M.A.R.T. seems easy enough – essentially it’s “Can I do it?” Well of course I can! There’s a bit more to it than that though… once I set the other letters SMRT I can clearly see that the A isn’t as easy as I thought.
“R” Is (Not) For Random: Making My Smart Goal Relevant
Let’s pick another letter at random just to get started: R for Relevant. My goal is definitely relevant because I’ll use these videos in my YouTube channel which I plan to grow significantly in the coming years. So this is interesting… I now seem to have a linked goal of growing my YouTube channel, one which I have not clearly defined yet, but that’s OK for now.
Let Me Be More Specific About My “S”
Now it’s time to dive deeper. Let’s be more specific with this goal. What’s my elevator pitch? Here are a few ideas:
“I’d like to learn and utilize motion graphics templates from Motion Array in my music and technical videos. I want the quality to rival other YouTube channels that I admire.”
I can also adopt a hybrid Agile methodology and describe my goal borrowing from the SCRUM framework:
As a musician/producer
I need to know how to create high quality videos in FCP
So that I can compete in the same space as YouTube creators that I admire
If you have no idea what Agile or SCRUM is, no problem – the key takeaway is filling in these blanks:
As a …
I need to …
So that I can …
My elevator pitch is an interesting one because it is also related to another SMART goal I have (loosely) created for myself around videography. I’m relatively new to the professional photography/videography space and am still learning how to create great looking studio quality intros and outros with my compact full-frame camera. Once that goal is complete, paired with this current SMART goal the total package is there.
Let’s take another shot at “Specific”:
“My old YouTube videos are visually inconsistent across my channel. In order to produce a series of videos, audio and video quality needs to increase and I need to utilize a framework to speed up production time.”
That’s more specific and is definitely something I need to work on, but it strays too far from the original goal which is to understand motion graphics in Final Cut Pro, running a series of tests on various Motion Array templates and deciding what works best for me.
As you can likely see by now, goal setting can end up being more difficult than you might think.
Now It’s Time to Measure My Smart Goal
So what does measurable mean?
I have an objective – to create high quality and attractive videos in FCP – so it has to be quantifiable. I have to be able to track my progress toward the goal.
In that measurement, I can’t just go from 0 to 100. I have to find a way to subdivide the work so that progress can be tracked over time. I could divide 100 by 10 so that I have 10 “sub goals” which can either be met or not met as time marches on toward the deadline.
I haven’t even set a deadline yet. Should I? I most certainly should. If I don’t, what’s the point? Taking that a step further, why don’t I take each of those 10 subgoals and assign a week of time to each.
Simple math says I will have completed the goal in 10 weeks, however some of the sub-goals might not be achieved in a week (might take longer than a week) while others might not take a full week to complete.
I haven’t defined these sub-goals yet so it’s hard to say, but safe to say I will do 2 in one week if possible, knowing that later one of the sub-goals might take 2 weeks to complete. In that way, I’m still on track for 10 weeks to completion.
Time-Bound: Let’s Add a Date to my Smart Goal
You get the idea – there are no hard and fast rules here. Whatever technique works for you is the technique you should use.
We jumped around a bit, covering SMAR so far. So what about T? It’s pretty simple – I’ll put a stake in the proverbial ground: “This will be complete by INSERT DATE HERE”.
We want the goal to be time-bound, otherwise it is open-ended and lacks clear resolve. Without a deadline, I could let too many other things get in the way. I am holding myself accountable here, it’s not like I report to a manager and he/she will be upset if I don’t make the deadline.
My Addition to the SMART Goal Acronym
I’m going to add a final letter here: C. Celebrate! When the goal is met by the deadline, acknowledge this with an enjoyable activity. Mark and observe the occasion in some way that’s meaningful to you. This was your goal – you designed it and executed on it, and you should feel satisfied with your achievement.
I hope this helps guide you in your goal setting exercises. Do not feel ashamed or embarrassed if you fail to reach this goal or any of your smart goals. If you do fail, examine why and learn from it. Don’t repeat the failure. Adjust the plan if necessary. Be honest with yourself – know what you’re capable of – but don’t be so satisfied with what you’ve already accomplished that you make no further effort. Check-in often and make sure you are growing personally and professionally.
DJ Stacktrace is the stage and producer name of Eleven co-founder Steve Banik. Each of us use what we teach at Eleven in our own music career businesses.