Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.
The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts.
You are aware that there are two types of Goals
- Long Term Goals
- Short Term Goals
Today’s focus is on Short Term Goals because if you don’t start NOW then Long term goals will always remain long term. Almost everyone one has some kind of Long term goal but short term are important because they help you START this journey of succcess.
Goals. There’s not telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.
Top-level athletes, successful entrepreneurs, business moguls and achievers in all fields all set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life.
By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind.
Start with S.M.A.R.T goals.
- S – Specific (or Significant).
- M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
- A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
- R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
- T – Time-bound (or Trackable).
Rewrite your major goals every day, in the present tense, exactly as if they already existed.
The criterion stresses the need for a specific goal rather than a more general one. This means the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific, they must tell a team exactly what’s expected, why it’s important, who’s involved, where it’s going to happen and which attributes are important.
A specific goal will usually answer the five ‘W’ questions:
- What: What do I want to accomplish?
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
- Who: Who is involved?
- Where: Identify a location.
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
The second criterion stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if a goal is not measurable it is not possible to know whether a team is making progress toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to help a team stay on track, reach its target dates and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.
A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
- Indicators should be quantifiable
The third criterion stresses the importance of goals that are realistic and also attainable. Whilst an attainable goal may stretch a team in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme. That is, the goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, since these may be considered meaningless. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them. The theory states that an attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals.
An achievable goal will usually answer the question How?
- How can the goal be accomplished?
- How realistic is the goal based on other constraints?
The fourth criterion stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A bank manager’s goal to “Make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by 2pm” may be specific, measurable, attainable and time-bound but lacks relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a champion voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team, your organization will receive that needed support.
Relevant goals (when met) drive the team, department and organization forward. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered a relevant goal.
A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match our other efforts/needs?
- Are you the right person?
- Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
The fifth criterion stresses the importance of grounding goals within a time-frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps a team focus their efforts on completion of the goal on or before the due date. This part of the SMART goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in an organization. A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.
A time-bound goal will usually answer the question
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?