The SMART Approach – Setting your goal
Credit for this goes to my friend Cathy, read more about her at this link.
Step One Make sure your goals fit the outline below.
S Specific Make sure your goal is very specific when selected.
It needs to answer the 5 Ws; who, what, where, when and why.
A process should immediately jump to mind when you set your
goal properly. Daily referrals of 1 is the process in the example below.
Example Refer 1 person daily until I reach my total goal of 30 for the month.
M Measurable Set your goal so you know when you reach it.
In the goal above your finish line was when you
reached 30 referrals (long term goal) or the 1 a day (short term goal).
A Attainable You need to make sure the goal
you set is something you want, not something
pushed upon you. You need to make sure the goal
fits your needs/skill level as well.
Perhaps a goal of 1 daily when you know your daily
average is 3 is too low; a goal set too low does no
one any good. On the other hand, if you are making
enough income at 1 a day to suit your needs, you may
not be motivated to stretch and reach for that higher goal.
Actionable Make sure the goal is
centered on action. In the example REFER is the action verb.
A bad choice for this goal would have been; I want
to refer more people next month. Where is the action?
How are you getting there? Too many questions left unanswered.
Be sure to have action in your goal.
Accountable Is there someone who checks on your progress? Can you hold yourself personally accountable for your actions or lack thereof?
Find someone who will require an
explanation if you slack off from striving for your goal.
In the case of the referral objective, but it could just as easily
be your teammate, pointing to your low referrals when
you take extra time for lunch without having your goals met.
R Realistic In the referral goal above, if your best month ever
was 5 and now they want you to refer 50, is there any way?
That is not realistic. When you set a goal too high, you
lose heart and interest. You realize early on that you are
not going to make the goal and give up. A properly set goal
should stretch you, but not be impossible to reach.
T Time Sensitive A goal without a ending date is only a dream.
I want to be in the Olympics. Really, great! When? The example
goal is very specific with daily goals (short term) as well
as the total goal for the month (long term). Do not set a
completion times to impress anyone, remember being realistic.
Losing 20 pounds in a week is setting a time, but is it really
achievable? On the other hand, do not set one too far out.
You will lose sight of the goal and interest before completion.
Take your longer goals (I want to lose 50 pounds by Christmas
which is 10 months away). Fifty pounds right now might
seem daunting, but how about 5 pounds a month?
Think you could do that?
5 Steps to achieving your goal
Step Two Set your goals. Now that we know how, we need to do it.
And WRITE THEM DOWN. Study after study shows that groups
where goals are written down
instead of just verbalized, or
worse yet imagined, achieve a
higher percentage of their goals.
Goals should be set for different time frames and different aspects
of your life.
There are financial goals of course;
I will increase my annual income by $10,000 by the end of the year,
but also non-financial ones as well; I will finish putting up the
shelves in the garage this weekend.
Whatever your goal is, WRITE IT DOWN,
making sure to follow the SMART approach from above.
Involve more people if needed. A goal of painting the house by next
weekend might include your entire family. Make sure they are on track,
or at least understand and agree with your goals. Setting a goal to
paint the house when your children have a baseball tournament might
not be the best approach.
Just as there are different types of goals, there need to be goals
for varying time ranges too. Experts typically recommend goals set for:
- 1 month
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 1 Year
- 5 year
- 10 year
Breakdown the bigger or more long term goals into shorter, bite sized
goals (Remember the elephant? one bite at a time.) If your goal is to
sell 500 boxes of cookies in the next 5 weeks (long term) break it down
into 100 boxes a week, or even 20 boxes on average daily (taking
the weekend off). Again, small bite size goals. See it as a blueprint,
a step by step set of instructions on how you are going to achieve your goals.
Write them down and then make copies of the goals. Separate sheets for
short term and long term goals. You want to see the long term goals,
but not focus on them daily. Make sure you can see them, especially the
more short term ones, several times a day. If losing weight is a goal,
perfect place for the list is on the refrigerator. Many individuals place
a copy of their goals on the bathroom mirror, again some place they will
be seen every day.
Share your goals. Remember the accountable part in the example above?
Who is going to bring you to task if you slip? Some of us are single minded
enough that we can be self-accountable, but it would be nice to have someone
in your corner as well. Find someone who not only can applaud when the small
goals are achieved (daily referrals of 1) but can commiserate when the small
goals are missed. If the goal is family oriented, find a time to have a family
meeting, bringing everyone up to date on your goal status and checking on theirs.
Step Four Review your goals on a consistent basis. Waiting
until Friday afternoon to see if you hit your weekly sales goal will not help
much. Check daily to see your progress. If you are behind on numbers Tuesday
afternoon, you know you need to increase your efforts the other three days.
However if you are ahead of goal at this point, DO NOT TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF THE GAS.
Do not slow down. Keep the
momentum going till the end of the time frame, until Friday afternoon.
With the 5 pound loss weekly, if you have already lost 3 pounds on
Tuesday that does not mean you can have a huge bowl of ice-cream.
Wait till Friday when you get on the scale for a weigh-in.
You would be surprised by how much more you achieved.
Sometimes you will need to adjust the goals. If you have overachieved your
goals consistently for the past 2 or 3 weeks, perhaps the goal was not set
high enough. Take it up a notch or two. Remember, a goal should stretch you.
On the other hand, say you have missed your weekly goal consistently. Perhaps
it was a little too ambitious? Did something unforeseen happen that will
influence future outcomes? It is okay to adjust the shorter term goals downward,
but make sure you carry that adjust through to your long term goals as well.
For example, assume your short term goal was losing 10 pounds a week with
long term goal of 100 pounds in 10 weeks. However, you were consistently
only losing 5 pounds a week. No problem, adjust your short term goal to 5
pounds, maybe stretching slightly to 6 or 7 pounds, but you will need to
understand that there is no way you will reach your 100 pound goal in 10
weeks. Your long term goal needs to be adjusted as well; in this example
to 50 or perhaps 60 pounds in the 10 weeks.
Step Five Celebrate victories. When you achieve your goals, short
or long term, do something special. Keep your long term goal in mind
when you celebrate though. For example, losing the 10 pounds in a week
does not mean you can have a huge bowl of ice cream as a reward.
Using these five steps to setting your goals will allow you to achieve much more
than ever before. In January, I like to review not only my annual goals from the
previous year, but several of the years before as well. It is nice to look back
and see all that I have accomplished because I set a goal for myself and stuck
to it. I have every confidence that with this information you can set your goals
and then achieve them all. Remember to give thank for all you receive.