Setting SMART Goals
Many people are not able to articulate what they really want in life in clear and concise language. Oddly enough, people are generally pretty good at articulating what they don’t want.
So it’s no wonder that a large percentage of the population go through life getting what they don’t want and don’t fully realize their goals and desires.
You get what you focus on!
A good place to start when setting SMART goals is to sit down and make a list of all the things you don’t want, or are really unhappy about.
For example, “I Don’t Want…”
- A mortgage
- To work until I’m 65
- To be overweight
- To be unemployed
Next, take a look at your list of don’t wants, and convert each one into something you really want instead.
For example, “I Really Want…”
- (I don’t want a mortgage becomes…) I really want $200K equity in my home.
- (I don’t want to work until I’m 65 becomes…) I really want to retire by the time I’m 55 years old.
- (I don’t want to be overweight becomes…) I really want to reach and maintain my goal weight.
- (I don’t want to be unemployed becomes…) I really want the ideal job for me that leverages my strengths and pays me what I am worth.
Notice not only how the language changes, but also how the language feels and the emotions that are evoked. Instead of feeling like you have to move away from something you don’t want, you are drawn to moving toward something you do want instead. That feels better, doesn’t it? You are more likely to be motivated and achieve your goal if you are moving toward something you want and desire, as opposed to something you don’t want.
The next key step is to turn your wants and desires into specific and measurable goals as a way of gaining clarity and focus. So let’s start by defining SMART goals.
S is for Simple and for Specific
The simpler you make your goal, the more clarity the goal will have. You should be able to articulate your goal in ten words or less.
e.g. – I am VP Operations in a major company by Dec. 31, 2012.
M is for Measurable, and Meaningful to you
You have to be able to measure whether you have successfully achieved your goal. The goal must also be meaningful to you.
e.g. – Consider my VP Operations goal above. Is it measurable? Absolutely, on December 31st I am either a VP in a major company or I am not. Is it meaningful to me? Absolutely, I have total control over the actions I need to take in order to achieve my goal.
A is for As if now, Achievable, and All Areas of your Life
Often goals are stated in the future tense. For example, I will have or I want to have. The language puts the focus out into the future. Stating the goal as if you have already met the goal or are in the process of meeting the goal keeps the goal achievement close at hand.
e.g. – “I am VP Operations by December 31st, 2012” is more powerful than “I will be VP Operations by December 31st, 2012.”
Now ask yourself:
- Is the goal achievable?
- Is it possible?
- Is it probable?
- How will it affect other areas of my life?
e.g. – You may have a goal to travel around the world this year. While possible, is it likely? How would your business or job be affected, or your family?
Goal setting is also about prioritizing and making choices that honors not only what’s really important to you, but also considers the impact on all areas of your life.
R is for Realistic, and Responsible
Is the stated goal realistic?
e.g. – I know someone who has a goal of winning a lottery. The chances of anyone winning a lottery are so slim—that’s not a goal, that’s just plain luck.
So, let’s stick to realistic goals—sure they can be and should be a stretch, but they must be doable for it to be a goal.
As for responsible—please make sure your goals are ethical, moral and responsible.
T is for Timely, and Toward what you want
The last consideration in setting SMART goals is to ensure there is a time element to the goal and that it is written towards what you want, rather than away from what you don’t want.
e.g. – Using my VP Operations example, by December 31st, 2011, I am VP Operations. This has a time element, as well as provides a target that you can work towards.
It is always the perfect time to set goals for the year and years to follow. I personally keep a list of all my SMART goals and read them out loud regularly. Maintaining focus on your goals is key to successful goal achievement.
Now, take action. No matter how big or small the action is, taking a first step toward the goal puts the wheels in motion. Before you know it all your goals become reality.
Linda Cattelan, Career & Life Coach and the President of Results Catalyst Inc. – a professional coaching and training company focused on individuals and teams to maximize human potential and to achieve personal and professional success. Linda shares over 25 years of corporate experience, much of it at the senior executive level. A superior track record coaching and mentoring senior managers, executives and entrepreneurs to consistently achieve outstanding results Linda is brilliant at using various self discovery techniques to facilitate getting at core issues instrumental for personal and professional breakthrough.
Holding a Masters Degree in Business Administration, Linda is a Certified Trainer and Master Practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. Linda is a regular guest of radio and television and a Contributing Author of the inspirational and informative networking book, The Power of Women United.
If you are interested in closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in any area of your life or you are interested in learning more about Linda Cattelan or Results Catalyst Inc. then simply click here: http://www.resultscatalyst.ca