Whether it is the start of a new year, you are starting a new job or you are starting another new stage in life, it is always a great time to talk about goal setting. Goals and goal setting can be challenging, especially if your goals cause you to stretch more than you have stretched in the past.
Goal Setting Made Easy
I have a proven goal setting strategy that will help you set AND complete challenging goals. AND, regardless of when you watch this video, now is always a great time to set and work towards achieving your goals.
First, for your goal to be obtainable, it MUST be a SMART goal. SMART is an acronym.
The “S” stands for “Specific”. Specific goals are clear, concise, and easy to understand.
An example of a specific goal would be to say, “This year we will increase the profit by 20% by eliminating down time between shifts, reducing lost and unaccounted for merchandise, and increasing employee productivity and efficiency.” You can break that goal into parts and set smaller goals for each part.
In contrast, a similar non-specific goal would be to say, “We want to make the organization better this year.” That goal leaves many questions. How will you make the organization better? What changes will you make? How can you know if you reached your goal if you don’t know what your goal is?
Specific goals explain exactly what you want to do and how to do it. They are NOT lofty, ambiguous, “up in the air” goals that are difficult to understand.
The “M” stands for measurable. When a goal is measurable, it is quantifiable. In the example, the increase in profit by 20% is a measurable quantity. At the end of the year you can easily determine if you increased the profit by 20% or not. If your goal is not measurable, there is no way to determine if it was successful or not.
The “A” stands for attainable. Goals should make you stretch beyond what you felt was possible, but still be attainable. A goal that is far beyond your capacity will likely lead to discouragement and demotivate you from completing goals in the future. Attainable goals are challenging and require concerted effort to complete but promote growth and progress.
The “R” stands for relevant. Goals should be relevant to your current purpose. For example, a college student should set goals relevant to their classes and major. A parent should set goals relevant to their success as a parent. A leader should set goals relevant to their leadership objectives and success. Whatever you are doing, your goals should be relevant.
The “T” stands for timely or time-bound. Goals should have a specific deadline. If you set goals without a deadline, you will most likely fall short of accomplishing them. Whether it is a product launch, the start of a new activity, a weight loss program or some other type of goal, all goals should have a deadline so you have a goal for completion.
Once you have created SMART goals, the second and equally as important part of goal setting is the plan. One can create the perfect SMART goal, but without a plan to accomplish the goal it will never be completed. In order to complete your goals, there are five main parts of the plan that must be executed.
1. Create an Action Plan
First, create an action plan for your goals. The action plan should have specific steps and milestones you work towards to complete your goals. Sometimes the plan can be very extensive for large long-term goals, while other times it can be short and somewhat simple. The key is to have an action plan you can follow as to complete your goals.
2. Schedule the Goals into Your Life
Once you have created the action plan, the second part of the plan is to schedule your goals into your everyday life. Take steps towards completing your goals on a regular basis. Depending on the goal, that may be daily, weekly, monthly, or at some other frequency. That time frame can also change based on benchmarks throughout the goal. What’s most important is that the goal is scheduled into your life.
3. Take Action
Third, you must take action. Follow through on your plan by taking the steps outlined in your plan. Think of the time you scheduled time in your day, week, or month as a commitment to yourself that you must follow through on. As you begin and continue to take action, your confidence in yourself and your ability fulfill your goals will grow.
4. Review the Goals Regularly
Fourth, review your goals regularly. When you review them, identify your progress and determine whether or not you are on track. If you are not on track, identify steps you must take to get back on track. Then do your best to follow through.
If while reviewing your goals, you determine that the action steps took longer than anticipated or you got off track due to other causes, take time to modify your plan so you can continue your progress towards completion.
5. Refresh the Goals
The fifth step is to refresh your goals. There are only two valid reasons to stop working towards accomplishing your goals. Either you complete the goal, or the goal is no longer relevant. For those reasons, it is important to refresh your goals. When you complete your goals or find they are no longer relevant, refresh them by creating new goals or modifying them to align with your new purpose. By refreshing your goals as needed, they always stay relevant and are worth completing.
To recap, this goal setting process is proven to help you reach your goals. You must first set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely or time bound. Once you have set SMART goals, follow the five steps to complete your goals. The five steps are:
- Create an Action Plan
- Schedule the Goals into Your Life
- Take Action
- Review the Goals Regularly
- Refresh the Goals
I really hope you can put this proven goal setting method to good use in your life! Feel free to share your thoughts on how it is working for you in the comments section below.
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