Chuck Norris says that you should Focus on what it is that you want and set a realistic goal. Start setting goals that you feel you can accomplish and don't try to go right to the top in one leap. Every time you accomplish one goal you develop the strength and wisdom to accomplish the next one.
Have you ever set out to achieve something for yourself and somewhere down the line realized that you had given up on it? You might have you lost interest in it because it became too complex or difficult or it seemed to be taking forever. Maybe something else in your life or your work got in the way and distracted you or perhaps the mission creep that I talked of in the last episode turned your small goal into an unachievable monster. What about a hobby? Have you ever started something with great enthusiasm, researched it, spent lots of money on it, bought all the best stuff and then 2 years later everything you spent time and money on is now residing at the back of a cupboard gathering dust because despite all that initial energy and focus it just fell by the wayside? I know I have. Smart goals may not the solution for everyone, but it is a terrific system to embrace if you want to get stuff done.
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. – Michelangelo Buonarroti
In 1981 George T. Doran published an article called “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives” and with that article, SMART goals were born.
Many of you will already be aware of these. You’ll have learned the importance of setting SMART objectives at work, or from seminars and business articles or perhaps even when I’ve mentioned them in passing here on this show. You probably already know, but I suspect that many of you will also have forgotten that "SMART" stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. But are these the only factors to consider if we want to achieve our goals? Let’s look at the SMART system more carefully.
To be effective, your goal must specifically state what it is you want to accomplish. Vague, ambiguous goals, such as planning to lose weight or get fit, are open to interpretation and don’t provide clear focus. “I will lose two pounds per week for the next 12 weeks” is an example of a specific goal and you can break the goal down further into smaller goals or objectives that define exactly how you will accomplish the larger goal, such as “I will walk briskly for 30 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings,” “I will not snack while watching TV” and “I will have fruit instead of dessert six nights per week.” That is S. Be specific. Next up, we have M, which stands for
SMART goals are measurable, allowing you to clearly see if you are progressing as planned. If your goal is to walk briskly for 30 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, it’s easy to measure whether you have accomplished that or not. Write down your goals and track your progress. This is the step that many miss out but it’s VERY important. I use whiteboards to plot my goals and objectives. That way I can see them every day, stick to my plan, AND cross things off as I succeed. I feel I push that point home a lot in these shows but how many of you have started doing it? Celebrating your wins. Only IF you measure your progress, can celebrate your wins and complete the all important cycle of productivity. I do this with seasons of podcast episodes so that I can always measure how I am doing and what still need to get done. This in turn produces drive... Next we have is A and there's some discussion about this one. I learned it as…
Your goal needs to be achievable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible. Many dreams seem impossible until you set your mind to achieving them. Yet, some things cannot be achieved no matter how hard you try. It should be possible to reach that goal. To make goals attainable, you need to be aware of your limitations. And of how you can stretch past those limitations and beyond. Making goals attainable encourages resilience. Here is how you can be more resilient. Some people take A in the SMART acronym to instead mean Action-Oriented. That SMART goals are action-oriented, does totally make sense, although it’s not the one I use. Action oriented Goals enable you to create concrete steps that you will take to be successful. Actions don’t always have to be physical. Learning new information or skills, such as how to prepare healthy meals or train with weights, is an important part of the process? Use one or other or both of these options wen setting smart goals. Whatever works for you. Next up we have R, which I’ve also seen two options for.
The one I learned was Realistic. SMART goals are realistic. Planning to lose 20 pounds in a month or planning to exercise one hour a day if you haven’t been exercising at all are unrealistic goals that will lead to failure. Take your time constraints and other limitations into account. Do make your goals somewhat challenging. Challenge can motivate you and keep you excited by having you stretch your comfort zone. As I say though, there is another option for this one, which I kinda prefer, and the reason I prefer it is that realistic and attainable to me, are kinda the same thing in many ways. Option 2 for the letter R is RELEVANT as there is no point to setting goals that do not matter. And Remus Serban in an article for hubgets.com called 5 Steps to Setting Smarter, Achievable Goals explains that Relevant goals are easier to control. Why? Because through trying to achieve set goals, you can always assure yourself that relevant goals are worthwhile. The goal needs to matter. It needs to have significance or, otherwise, it can easily be discarded. Let me add that it needs to matter to the person setting the goal. Having the same goal as everyone else means you have other people’s goals. When setting a goal, ask yourself what the goal means to you. As a creative I’ve spent way too many hours days weeks and years trying to achieve other peoples goals, which is all fine and well if you are being paid or if it’s in alignment with your own, but any goal that you isn’t in some way relevant to you, will be all the harder to achieve.
Finally in the SMART acronym we have T, which stands for…
Adding a deadline to your goals is simply vital to their success. If your weight loss goal is to lose two pounds per week for the next 12 weeks, you have a deadline to meet each week to help keep you focused and on-track. It’s the final important element of the SMART SYSTEM. Always set deadlines for your goals.
SMART goals and objectives can be incorporated into pretty much any task. They aren’t just fixed to massive life goals either, but can be used incrementally to get things done in our day to day life and work. They are great for achieving weekly goals, monthly goals and quarterly goals and can work for teams just as well as for individuals. The twelve week year system which I talked about in an earlier episode. Episode 12 or thereabouts, is effectively a quarterly SMART goal system.
Bearing in mind my earlier episode on flexibility, please note that the goal you set out in this smart system does not always have to be achieved, but can work simply as a guideline to help you to maintain focus. When working with smart goals over longer periods, you should always conduct interim evaluations, verifications and adjustments as it is sometimes important to respond to changes from the environment with the right set of time and resources.
One warning I’d give when goal setting is that you should beware of setting goals that someone else has power over. Last year I set a goal based on an application to a mentoring programme. I talked about it in an earlier show. I was supremely confident that I would succeed but in the end I didn’t even get an interview. If there’s one way of killing an objective it’s pinning any part of it on an element you cannot control.
A 2007 study conducted at the Dominican University of California, showed that people who write down their goals and update friends with their progress tend to be more successful in meeting their goals than those who simply think about them. That’s why I will continue to urge you not just to think about this stuff, but to write it down and engage with it.
And let me finish, as I said before, that when you successfully reach each goal, you should reward yourself and celebrate in some way. Although ideally not with a bar of chocolate I you actually have a weight loss goal, that would be counterproductive to say the least. Always, always remember that celebrating your successes is an integral part of the cycle of productivity and success. If you miss it out, your enthusiasm will wane. Celebrating is all too easy to miss out if you are caught up in your work. If you’ve earned it, give yourself a reward.
Thanks for joining me here again today. In the next episode I’ll be talking about the SWOT analysis and why honestly analyzing how you are doing, measurably analyzing you might say, is an essential business skill.
I’ll end with the words of Jordyn Wieber who said Don't look at the big picture as the only achievement. Start with set, smart goals and work up to something bigger and as I couldn’t decide what to go for here, I’ll also give you a note from
Zig Ziglar - The great majority of people are “wandering generalities” rather than “meaningful specifics”. The fact is that you can't hit a target that you can't see. If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. You have to have goals.
Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!
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