Goals are Crucial for Success
Goal setting is essential for success in life. If you want to achieve anything, you will have goals structured to propel you towards success. Set SMARTER goals and assemble them in an action plan to create your path to achieve your pursuits.
Many tend to leave goals as unclear targets without writing them down in a form that elicits action and success. Don’t make that mistake. Be one of the 5% who achieves great things because they have clear plans in writing.
Why Are Goals So Important?
Goals are essential because they guide you to organize and focus your effort to get what you want. With all of the demands you have in your life, it’s impossible to succeed without a specific plan. You must also stick to your plan, adapting to challenges and persevering until you succeed.
Most people don’t have a written plan, and many have poorly conceived plans. I’m going to guide you here through the process of wisely choosing your goals and making a plan that will lead you to get what you want.
Related: Planning and Organizing
SMART Goal Setting
The letters in SMART represent attributes your goals should have to give you a solid foundation for success. This originates back to a November 1981 publication in Management Review, authored by George T. Doran, which covered SMART goal setting in business management objectives. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
But, SMARTER goal setting adds two more attributes. You (E) evaluate and (R) re-adjust your goals. It’s essential to add an element of evaluating and adapting because failures and challenges are always part of the process.
Set SMARTER Goals
Choose what you want to accomplish. Then adapt your goal description to include all of the 7 attributes the initials in SMART represent.
Be sure your goal is expressed in a way that you have no doubt about what it takes to achieve it.
The first step is to be specific. For example, instead of losing weight as a goal, you should have a specific weight in mind, like to lose 10 pounds. Then you should break it down to be even more precise by figuring how many pounds per week that is.
Why is this essential? Because you have to have a target and clear enough information to plan what to do to achieve it. Without specifics, there’s no clear objective, just a vague notion.
If you only say “lose weight,” how can you know when you reached the goal? How many calories do you need to consume and burn? You need to be specific, so you can put a successful plan into action.
Also, when the goal is vague, the psychology of your mind can sabotage your goals. You cave to things like avoidance behavior and procrastination when your goals are vague.
Related Research: How the Application of Smart Goals can Contribute to Achievement
Write down good reasons with strong feelings for each goal you choose. If you can’t do this, consider adapting your goal to be more inspiring.
The second step in setting SMARTER goals is to set goals that are important enough to you that you’ll persist when things become difficult. Things always become difficult!
When your goals have a strong enough significance to you, you’ll do whatever it takes to reach them. The significance must be a strong feeling, not merely vanity or wishful thinking.
People don’t want more money because they want bigger numbers on their bank statements. No, they want more money because it provides more: freedom, security, contribution, and so on. You have to connect a strong enough purpose to your goals, along with being specific.
Research achievable standards for your goals by seeing what others have accomplished and considering whether it’s healthy and humanly possible.
Structure your goals so you can achieve them. How you apply this principle depends on the goal. You aren’t going to lose 10 pounds in a day unless you chop off a leg or something extreme like that. In the weight example, achievable would mean losing weight at a healthy rate.
Having a goal of completing your undergraduate degree in three years is achievable and challenging. Is it possible to finish in two years? Even if you take various tests like CLEP and DANTES instead of completing some courses, I doubt it’s achievable.
In many cases, the difference between achievable and not achievable is the length of time you choose.
You can shoot for the stars in your long-term plans (5-10 years), but be sure you have reasonable milestones in the short term (1 year or less).
When you have goals that you can actually achieve, you build on your momentum. Your short-term goals should be within your reach but not so easy that they won’t take significant effort.
Examine your goals and confirm that they don’t conflict with your long-term plans and your values.
Confirm that your goals are relevant to your life. They should be in line with your complete life plan. Your short-term goals should be steps that lead you to achieve your long-term objectives. The goals should also be in harmony with your core values. If your root values oppose your goals, then you’ll get frustrated and quit.
When you set relevant goals, you must explore deep down inside and fully understand what you want out of life.
Break your goals into steps need to achieve them, and then figure out how long it will take you to complete the steps working on a reasonable schedule—plan for some bumps in the road.
Assure that your goals are time-bound by setting an exact date on when you plan to achieve these goals. I like to focus my effort on 8-week sprints. An example would be to save $10,000 in one year, you need to save $192.31 per week. So you focus on saving $192.31 per week over the next 8 weeks.
Time-bound goals are measurable. You should hold yourself accountable by measuring those goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Ask yourself how close you are to attaining your goals? What do you need to do next? What should you do today? Making your goals time-bound and measurable lets you see your progress.
Evaluate your progress every day and at the end of every week. Then, adapt your plans to reach your goals. Look for ways to improve and avoid repeating any mistakes you’ve made.
By assessing your goals every day, you’re more likely to achieve them. Every professional organization has a system in place to evaluate itself and seek improvements. It’s a hallmark of excellence.
Set up a system for assessing your goals, and it will become a habit. Don’t skip this all-important step. Your mind has a sinister way of letting you neglect your goals by leading you to procrastinate and engage in distractions.
If you find you aren’t progressing, then look for ways to improve.
I recently adjusted my goal plan for increasing my business revenue. I found that I wasn’t able or willing to commit the resources I needed to do everything in my plan. So, I reduced my plan to the most important essential elements to reach my goal.
Re-adjust doesn’t mean abandoning your goals and starting over. It means persisting and finding different ways to get things done when you have problems.
Follow these 7 SMARTER principles when you choose your goals. It will give you a great foundation to succeed.
I hope you find great success and happiness in life!
Lawlor, K. (2012). Smart Goals: How the Application of Smart Goals can Contribute to Achievement of Student Learning Outcomes. Developments In Business Simulation And Experiential Learning: Proceedings Of The Annual ABSEL Conference, 39. Retrieved from https://absel-ojs-ttu.tdl.org/absel/index.php/absel/article/view/90
Teo, T., & Low, K. (2016). The Impact of Goal Setting on Employee Effectiveness to Improve Organisation Effectiveness: Empirical Study of a High-Tech Company in Singapore. Retrieved 9 November 2020, from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3088132