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Writing Personal Objectives

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Personal objectives are a part of many professional processes and documents. Many people start a resume with a section titled "Objectives." Personal objectives can also be part of a corporate performance management program. Writing personal objectives doesn't have to be part of a formal document or program. Keeping your objectives written down can help you to check progress toward goals. One method for writing personal objectives is the SMART process--for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-constrained.

Specific

Effective setting of personal objectives requires specific goals. Each objective should define who else might be needed to achieve it. It should specifically define what the objective will accomplish. You should define why the objective is necessary, when it needs to be completed and a general outline of the steps to accomplish it.

Measurable

The objective should be measurable. Measurable means that a successful outcome must be quantifiable. For example, if setting an objective to contact potential customers or clients, set a number as a goal. If the objective is something like being financially independent, clearly define the objective for your particular circumstances. For financial independence, it might be a set amount of income or a measurable reduction in expenses.

Achievable

The objective should be achievable. Setting a goal, such as making $1 billion, is not likely to be an achievable objective. Setting objectives too high will likely result in the overall goal not being met. Setting goals too high can result in frustration and less drive to continue with other objectives.

Realistic

Setting realistic goals is similar to setting achievable goals. However, when looking at how realistic a goal is, look at the resources you have available. Resources can include skills, connections and equipment, as well as your personal priorities. A particular goal may be achievable, but only within a realistic amount of time. If your goal is to bicycle from New York to Los Angeles, this is an achievable goal. However, physical fitness, the right equipment and enough free time may or may not make an achievable goal a realistic goal.

Time-constrained

An objective needs to be time-constrained. Setting a goal to bicycle from New York to Los Angeles but failing to set a deadline for achieving the goal can result in failing to achieve the objective because of procrastination. Setting a deadline creates a sense of urgency, which can help you to work to achieve your personal objective.

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About the Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.