Why You Should Set SMART Goals or None at All
30 Jan 2017
It’s a new year, so we thought this post would be relevant to pretty much anyone at this point. Setting SMART Goals can be the key to your success this year. Have a read… and set some targets. Good luck in 2017!
There’s a lot to be said for setting goals. For one, they tend to become self-fulfilling predictions because they allow you to articulate what you really want to achieve. On a deeper level, they engage the inner workings of the mind and put them to work on the subconscious. That being said, unless your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely, you may be just spinning your wheels.
Why your goals must be SPECIFIC
When goals are loosely stated, they tend to morph quickly. This leads to the eventual acceptance of something less than your original intent. When goals are stated specifically, it engages the subconscious mind in a hunt for the pieces you need to complete them. Good goals also involve your will, as you begin to see them as a part of your future.
- Specifics help visualize achieving your goal. Whether big or small, a clear mental image of what it looks and feels like to achieve your goal is essential to believing you can do it.
- Achieving a goal becomes easier when you know exactly what it looks like. The first step to a good plan is being able to visualize the components of what you’re building.
- Unless a goal is specific, how do you know when you’ve reached it? Understanding the finish line is essential to tracking progress and celebrating your success.
Making sure your goals are MEASURABLE
You’ve probably taken a road trip before. There are two kinds of road trips; those to reach a certain destination and those that are just pure exploration. Goals belong in the first category. You need two kinds of measurements to reach your destination. First, you have to measure trajectory to ensure you are headed in the right direction. Secondly, you need to measure distance so that you can track your progress.
- Choose your metrics wisely. The number of songs played on your favourite playlist is not an effective measurement as the number of miles travelled. You have to measure the right things.
- Institute your measurement standards when you set the goal and stay consistent.
- Be sure to set a few intermediate markers along the way where you can check progress and trajectory. Make course corrections as needed to arrive at your goal.
How to know your goals are ATTAINABLE
It’s great to dream. The bigger the dream, the better. Reaching a goal is so exciting that it becomes its own reward. Working toward a goal, only to realize there is no way to get there from here has the exact opposite effect. It demoralizes and robs you of momentum. So, how do you know if your goals are attainable?
- First, can you actually see yourself reaching the goal in the time you’ve allowed? If not, is there something you could change to make it possible?
- Do you see a clear path of action? It’s almost guaranteed that you will have deviations in your path, but can you at least see the things you need to do to get there?
- Everyone needs coaches. Ask someone who knows you and your track record to assess your goals. If they find them unrealistic, ask why.
Are your goals really RELEVANT?
There are many things that are specific, measurable and attainable that simply have no value in your overall plan. For example, if an athlete set a world record as their goal and pursued it to the exclusion of their regular training regimen, what would happen? They would likely lose their competitive edge and sacrifice their main objective to achieve something irrelevant.
- Every goal should move you closer to your overall objective. Does your goal move you forward to where you ultimately want to be? If the answer is no, you may need to adjust your target.
- Knowing how your goals contribute to your bottom line and corporate well-being can help you evaluate. Spend your time on things that contribute value and meaning.
- Will your goal position you for the next step? You need immediate, short term and future goals. Each goal should contribute to the one that comes next. If it distracts, does it add something that is of equal or greater value? If not, reconsider.
Finally, make sure your goals are TIMELY
Just as irrelevant goals distract from your main purpose, doing the right thing at the wrong time can hinder progress. You need to know that the pieces are in place to sustain growth. Achieving a goal at the wrong time, only to slide back to where you started, costs time and money.
- Have you completed all of the steps that came before this goal? If not, put it on the back burner until you’re ready.
- Are your team members and any partners you need on board? Sometimes waiting even a short while can make things look much different.
- Look to your past for confirmation. Have you had the needed momentum in similar seasons in the past? If you see roadblocks, do you need to reschedule, or give yourself more time?
Achieving your goals is an amazing feeling. It gives you perspective and helps you develop new, bigger dreams for your future. You’ll be amazed at what you can do in life and in business, if you learn to take it one step at a time and set SMART goals.
Want to know what our goals are for the year? Want to work together with someone towards a goal? Feel free to email us if you want to work together to set, and achieve, your 2017 objectives!