It’s a funny thing about goals. People either love goal-setting and enjoy the process or they hate goal-setting and find it restrictive and de-motivating. Which camp are you in?
I am a firm believer in the SMART goal-setting system because I’ve seen the difference it made when I started following the steps. You see, in the past, I would set lofty goals but did not include the “T”, which relates to being time-sensitive or time-bound. In addition, since I did not break down my steps into smaller chunks, it often became overwhelming. It was in 2014 that I began using and embracing the SMART goals formula.
Once I understood the 5 parts, it created a new dimension in my ability to accomplish my goals:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable (must make you stretch
R = Realistic
T = Time-bound
However, I must admit that despite the clear guidelines, there’s really no set formula for goal-achievement. Many persons, including coaching clients, have told me that they prefer the word vision rather than “goal.” So how can you achieve a middle ground so that that the purpose is realized and the outcomes are desirable?
Whether you chose to see it as your ultimate vision or as goal-achievement, here are 5 steps to increase your chances of success.
1) Make it Realistic – When you set a goal, it has to be realistic. What does realistic mean? It simply means that it’s within your power to do, whether you have to get training or support, you have the ability to accomplish it. This means they’re the goal is actionable and measurable.
Being measurable is critical because you have to know when you’ve reached your goal, and if you have an accountability partner, the other person must be able to determine that as well.
For example, instead of saying you will lose weight this year, tell yourself that you will lose x pounds by a certain month and how you’ll do it. In this case, by walking to work every single day. This kind of goal is specific enough to achieve and is the first step in knowing how to achieve your goals.
2) Make A Plan – “When you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin. Once you know what your goal is, you need a plan to make it happen. In making your goal realistic, your plan may include breaking it down into smaller steps that allow you to take consistent action.
For example, you decide you can no longer deal with the clutter and lack of organization in your home. To simply say ‘I will get my home fully organized by September’ is a recipe for failure. It’s too vague and too overwhelming.
You stand a much better chance of achieving your goals by breaking it down. For example, Week 1: Master bedroom HIS closet, Week 2: Master bedroom HER closet, and so forth. By targeting one area and seeing it through to completion, you can move on strategically and without the overwhelm.
3) Set A Deadline – If your goal has no deadline then you’ll just keep putting it off. If you want to know how to achieve your goal, you’re going to have to set a date by which you want to meet all of the smaller chunks. We all know things could eventually change, but setting a date in the first place is the best way to make sure you put in some real effort. Always remember that the deadline can change, but the goal should remain in place.
4) Take Action – Although it sounds obvious, a goal will never become a reality unless you take action. So many persons make goals every January only to forget them a few weeks later. Don’t let this happen to you! Start working on your goal immediately, even if you’re only taking small steps to make it happen.
5) Keep Track – Now that you’ve started taking action, it’s important to keep track of how you’re doing. Keep yourself accountable by taking an honest look at how you’re doing to meet the steps that you break down. You’re free to change the way you do things if what you’re doing is not bringing the best results. Perfection is not required, but keeping control of your progress is going to help you ultimately.
Knowing how to achieve your goals is one thing. It’s up to you to take action. Strive for consistent action.