With the onset of a new year and renewed energy and optimism for all that the year holds for us, our minds inevitably turn to resolutions. “Lose weight! Eat healthy! Get fit! Save money! Spend money!” Weʼre inundated with countless reminders, and itʼs become a New Yearʼs tradition for many. Somewhat of an obligation brought to the forefront of our minds by the prolific messages pushed out by the media and circles abuzz with their big hopes and plans.
I have lots of goals for the new year, so many in fact, that the difficulty lies in focusing on them individually, and I tend to get lost in overwhelm. Does anyone else have this problem? I suspect Iʼm not the only one, and in the spirit of “tradition” and taking measures to actually achieve my goals, Iʼm bringing to awareness a technique many of you may have already heard of or practiced at some time or another: S.M.A.R.T. goal setting.
S.M.A.R.T. goal setting is simply a mnemonic term coined to describe the essential elements of setting goals meaning your objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. This method works with all types of goals especially our business goals. In conjunction with writing down your goals or resolutions, make sure to ask yourself the following questions relating to each component of the S.M.A.R.T.
process, and I would bet on a higher success rate for achieving your goals.
Specificity is a fundamental necessity for successful communication, and setting goals is a form of communication we have with ourselves and our business associates. We can easily project a broad goal to make more money in the new year, but a specific goal answers to the what, why, who, where, and which. So getting specific, I might say I want to increase my income to six figures by enlisting help with tasks while focusing on my local and global marketing and continuously tracking progress. Already this goal seems more obtainable with a developing plan of action.
Now letʼs quantify this goal with the how. How much, how many, how will I? Now I might get deeper into the specifics by saying, I need to make X income to pay for Y of budgeted expenses and have Z for ownerʼs draw and the business. I will spend 30-60 minutes weekly assessing the progress of my goal. I know, I know…budgets and projections can be difficult part of our business strategies, but a very necessary part of a successful operations as supported by this style of goal setting.
At this point in the exercise, we can take a look at our answers and decide if our goals are attainable. The thought has probably already crossed your mind by this point, but based on the answers to the questions thus far we can ask ourselves, “Is this a realistic goal?” Or more specifically, “Am I going to be able to achieve this goal in the desired timeframe at the standard that I require it to be achieved?” Be honest with yourself now so as not to be disappointed later.
Set goals that matter, that most support your needs and desires, and that are efficient. Donʼt waste your time getting lost in a sea of distractions from the big picture.
Does this make sense for me? Am I the right person for this goal? Does this support my business as a whole? Is this worthwhile?
Really think about that last one. How many times do we go through the motions only to say in hindsight that there was a more efficient way to accomplish the goal or maybe that it need not have been done at all. Just make sure you delegate when you should and eliminate the superfluous time sucker-upper tasks.
Now we can set deadlines for ourselves. Get out your calendar, and make it all official.
I will draw up my budgets and strategy January 12th. I will schedule 10-11 on Fridays for goal assessments. By March 31st, I should have achieved 25% of my total goal. Once a month I will participate in a local networking event. The first and third Tuesdays of the month, I will send out my newsletters. I will have a promotion ready and scheduled to go out by the first day of each quarter.
Schedule, schedule, schedule, and while youʼre at it donʼt forget to schedule some “you” time as part of your business success strategy. I mean it, it works!
Wow! I donʼt know about you, but I can already see my goals starting to take shape and just creating a strategy makes them feel more real and true to the mnemonic- more attainable! Thoughts become plans become beliefs become practices become reality.
Enjoy the journey to your successful reality!