Intro to SMART Career Goals for Neurodivergent Professionals

Veronica Yao

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by Veronica Yao

The SMART method of goal setting is recognized as a staple of workplace trainings. It’s a powerful acronym that can help you set goals with intention and improve your chances of achieving them.

In this resource, we’ll break down the SMART method, explain how to use it, and where you can apply this skill to better your work life.

What does SMART stand for?

SMART represents the 5 elements of effective goal setting: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Let’s break them down:

  • Specific: Define your goal with crystal-clear precision. What exactly do you want to achieve? By getting specific, you make it easier to envision your goal and motivate yourself to accomplish it!
  • Measurable: Make your progress tangible. Set benchmarks and milestones so you can track your success along the way.
  • Achievable: Dream big, but keep it realistic. Ensure your goals are challenging yet within reach, setting yourself up for success.
  • Relevant: Align your goals with your broader aspirations. Your goals should matter to you and contribute to your overall vision.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline. A time frame adds urgency and structure, pushing you to stay focused and committed.

Is the SMART method neurodivergent-friendly?

The SMART method works for anyone, including those who might think a bit differently. The 5 elements make for a handy checklist that you can evaluate your goals against.

This approach is also great because it encourages direct communication and clearly defined parameters for achieving your goals, which helps you avoid confusion and miscommunication.

Ways to use SMART goals:

Use the SMART goal-setting technique in your work life. Here are a few scenarios you can apply it to:

  • Setting long and short-term career goals.
  • Setting performance goals with your manager at work.
  • Setting self-care goals, especially if you’re dealing with burnout.

Get your free resource sheet!

Download this free resource sheet complete with examples of accessibility supports, a worksheet for developing your own list of accessibility supports, and more. 

Are you neurodivergent and burnt out at work?

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