We’ve all been told how important it is to set goals. Yet for most of us goals are little more than New Year’s resolutions…forgotten by the end of January. Great intentions, but little follow through. As a result, we don’t make the progress we are capable of. We simply put our nose to the grindstone and just keep doing more of the same thing and get more of the same old results. Year after year.
The reality is that most of us spend far more time planning our next vacation than we do planning our lives and careers. How much sense does that make? As a result, we tolerate mediocrity when we could be driving toward much greater success.
Without goals we are like a ship without a rudder, wandering aimlessly and sabotaging our ability to achieve our true potential. Goals give us something to shoot for, a roadmap for success. The evidence is quite compelling.
Think of goals as dreams with a timetable. The secret to setting and achieving goals is that they meet a certain criteria, the SMART criteria.
- Specific: What specifically do you want to accomplish?
- Measurable: How will you know when you have achieved it?
- Achievable: Is it realistic in terms of your ability to make it happen?
- Relevant: Does it fit in with your overall lifestyle and values?
- Time specific: Does it have a completion date?
Here are examples of poorly defined goals and SMART goals.
Poorly defined goals:
- I need to lose some weight.
- I’m going to make more money next year.
- I will lose 15 pounds by December 31.
- I will make $100,000 in salary and bonuses this calendar year.
The benefits of setting SMART goals are…
- You have a purpose & direction.
- You will accomplish something that is meaningful for you.
- You can track you progress effectively.
- You will feel good about yourself when you accomplish it.
- Setting SMART goals is a habit that will bring you success in life.
It’s important to ask yourself why you are setting this goal. The how will be difficult unless the why is important enough. When you set your goal, determine a reward that you will give yourself when the goal is achieved. (People always respond more positively to incentives.) Put your goals in writing. Finally, share your goals with someone who is supportive and wants you to succeed.
Self-Study Assignment: Develop at least one SMART goal for each of the following areas of your life: business or career, educational, health, financial, fun, and family. Add other areas if you desire. Share them with someone who is supportive and wants you to succeed. Read them regularly and monitor your progress.