Becoming more assertive is a crucial component of effective communication and can be a powerful tool to help you succeed in any area of life. It enables you to express yourself confidently in a way that is honest yet respectful.
But knowing how to create practical goals for yourself can be challenging. Luckily, you can use several strategies and guidelines when creating SMART goals that will help you become more assertive.
What is a SMART Goal?
The SMART framework will allow you to develop practical goals for assertiveness. Want more clarity?
Here is a deeper dive into each SMART component:
Once you are clear about your goals, you will have a better chance of accomplishing them. Knowing precisely what you want to achieve can help you focus your efforts and stay on track with your plan for greater assertiveness.
Measuring your progress will provide a clear path toward reaching your desired outcome and help track the changes that need to be made along the way. Be sure to focus on both qualitative and quantitative metrics.
While qualitative measures can be subjective (an evaluation from a supervisor), quantitative measures involve specific data points which can be monitored over time (how often you have used positive body language in conversations).
Assertiveness is a skill that takes time and practice, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to gain confidence in the area before expecting results. Don’t set a deadline for something too ambitious, which could cause extra stress if not met on time.
Craft goals that align with who you are and what matters most to you. Think about what lifestyle you want to lead and how satisfying it’ll be when those goals are met. Once these have been identified, use them as a guide while formulating the steps to reach those specific targets.
Creating tangible deadlines can help you laser-focus on your goals and ensure you take the necessary steps to meet them. You’ll be able to evaluate how far you have come since starting this journey.
Why Are SMART Goals Important for Assertiveness?
Assertiveness can be hard to master. It is often thought of as a trait you either have or don’t have, but in reality, it takes practice and time to develop. That’s to say, being more assertive isn’t easy—it requires a shift in mindset and behavior, which demands commitment and energy.
Recognize that assertiveness allows us to communicate our needs and wants effectively while also respecting the rights of others. It’s an essential skill for anyone looking to build professional and personal relationships with others.
Taking advantage of the SMART framework can aid you on the road to becoming more assertive. The specificity of SMART goals ensures clarity about what is expected to be achieved and by when; this sets the framework for how to move forward with reaching your goal.
This method also allows you to better measure your progress to know if and when each milestone has been reached toward attaining your end goal. You’ll be able to better carry out tasks necessary for success.
10 Examples of SMART Goals for Assertiveness
Below you’ll find several SMART goals examples for being more assertive:
1. Express Feelings
“I want to be clear and express my feelings calmly without getting angry or saying things I don’t mean. To achieve this, I will practice speaking up when I feel something is wrong or unfair and work on respectfully delivering my feelings.”
Specific: The statement outlines the desire (expressing feelings calmly) and actionable steps to achieve it (speaking up and delivering sentiments respectfully).
Measurable: You could track your progress by speaking up and expressing feelings calmly.
Attainable: It is possible to practice speaking up when you sense something wrong or unfair.
Relevant: Expressing feelings calmly and respectfully is an integral part of assertiveness.
Time-based: There is no specific end date because this goal is ongoing.
2. Agree to Disagree
“In the following two months, I will practice disagreeing without being aggressive or getting overly emotional. And when there are disagreements, I will not take them personally and instead focus on finding a mutually beneficial solution.”
Specific: The SMART goal is defined as disagreeing without getting overly emotional.
Measurable: This can be measured by the person’s ability to disagree while maintaining respect.
Attainable: Being able to disagree respectfully is a skill that can be developed.
Relevant: This goal is relevant to assertive communication.
Time-based: The goal is time-bound as it should be reached in two months.
3. Be Direct
“I’ll strive to be more direct in my communication for the 6 months ahead. I will practice being clear and specific when expressing my thoughts and feelings without being too aggressive. I’ll also make the point concise to communicate my message clearly and effectively.”
Specific: The statement is well-defined, detailing the objective and how to attain it.
Measurable: Count the number of times someone can communicate clearly and effectively without being too aggressive.
Attainable: The goal is realistic and can be accomplished with practice.
Relevant: This is important for assertiveness as it encourages being direct while avoiding aggressive communication.
Time-based: You have 6 months to accomplish this particular goal.
4. Ask Questions
“Over the course of three months, I will actively engage in conversations by asking relevant questions to help me understand the situation better instead of taking a passive stance. I will also listen to the responses and provide feedback when necessary.”
Specific: You have precise actions available—actively engage in conversations and ask relevant questions.
Measurable: Make sure you ask questions daily for the next three months.
Attainable: As long as you are willing to put in the effort, this is a reasonable goal.
Relevant: This goal relates to your primary objective of becoming more assertive.
Time-based: You should anticipate goal attainment in three months.
5. Practice Listening
“I’ll practice active listening in conversations with colleagues and stakeholders by asking thoughtful questions to clarify understanding for the two months ahead. That will help me build stronger relationships and improve communication within the workplace.”
Specific: The goal is clear. The person knows that they want to practice active listening.
Measurable: You will ask thoughtful questions in conversations for two months.
Attainable: This is a doable goal if the individual invests time and focus.
Relevant: Listening is an essential aspect of communication in the workplace, and it’s appropriate to the individual’s desired outcome.
Time-based: Two months are needed to meet success.
6. Acknowledge Others
“I will actively acknowledge and consider people’s ideas, opinions, and positions for the next four months. I’ll engage with others in meaningful dialogue and allow them to express their viewpoints without judgment or criticism.”
Specific: This is specific because the person will consider others’ thoughts and feelings in an active manner.
Measurable: You can measure success by determining how actively you engage with others’ ideas.
Attainable: Acknowledging others’ opinions is a realistic goal that can be achieved.
Relevant: This goal is pertinent to successful interpersonal relationships and shows respect for other people’s points of view.
Time-based: Goal completion is expected by the end of four months.
7. Be More Proactive
“I will take on more responsibilities with a positive attitude and look for proactive solutions to problems within four months. I want to become more reliable, organized, and accountable in my work.”
Specific: There are clear instructions and expectations of your responsibilities.
Measurable: Track the number of tasks completed by the timeline and any proactive solutions found.
Attainable: Analyze the current workload and position to ensure this goal is achievable over four months.
Relevant: Taking on more responsibility and being proactive within a job is important in demonstrating assertiveness.
Time-based: You have established a timeline of four months for goal achievement.
8. Use “I” Statements
“I will use ‘I’ statements instead of blaming others whenever I need to voice my opinion. This helps me maintain a respectful and assertive tone when facing disagreements. I will practice using ‘I’ statements for 30 days.”
Specific: You’ll strive to maintain a respectful and assertive tone using “I” statements.
Measurable: Pay attention anytime you feel the need to voice your opinion.
Attainable: Using and familiarizing oneself with “I” statements can be achieved within the provided time frame.
Relevant: This goal is appropriate because it will help the individual maintain a respectful and assertive tone when expressing their opinion.
Time-based: There is a 30-day window for achieving the statement.
9. Learn to Say No
“In order to effectively set boundaries, I want to practice saying no respectfully and clearly. I’ll learn when to say no and when to set limits on projects, tasks, and activities to prioritize my workload.”
Specific: The individual wants to practice saying no respectfully and clearly.
Measurable: You will learn when to say no and set limits on projects and activities.
Attainable: This is definitely possible because it involves learning skills to assert oneself.
Relevant: Learning to say no and setting boundaries is essential to prioritize workload.
Time-based: The goal is ongoing, so you must pursue it on a daily basis.
10. Stay Calm and Collected
“I want to stay calm and collected when faced with a situation I find uncomfortable or disagreeable. I will practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises to help me stay calm in difficult situations by the end of one month.”
Specific: This SMART goal is apparent because you have identified relaxation techniques to help you remain calm.
Measurable: Count the number of times you use relaxation techniques to promote calmness in difficult situations.
Attainable: This is an achievable goal since the individual has given themselves a month to practice and hone their skills in staying calm.
Relevant: Staying calm and collected is a valuable skill in any situation and is an important quality to possess for assertiveness.
Time-based: The goal is expected to be achieved within a month.
The SMART framework is an amazing way to enhance assertiveness skills. SMART goals should include specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based components.
With these 5 criteria in mind, you can better identify the strategies you need to become more assertive. Just remember to create an action plan and set deadlines to boost motivation and make it easier for you to stick with your goals.
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