Here we are in December, and another year has almost past. What did you do this year, this month, or this week that moved you closer to where you want to be? I know that I regret some of the decisions that I made this year, one of the biggest being putting my online marketing|writing|socialSEO|website building business on the back burner while I traded my time for a (way too small) paycheck. Time to reflect anew on my SMART and SIMPLE goals for 2016…and I hope you will do the same.
My experience working in finance and automotive industry gave me the opportunity to take courses in goal setting, and it is time to get back to some of those basics and get my goals written down and ready for 2016. One mistake many of us make is deciding on a goal, but not a plan to get there. We still have several weeks to get it together before New Year’s Eve– what amazing things will you achieve next year?
SMART Goals is an acronym, and it spells out simple and commonsense goal-setting techniques.
Specific: No vague generalizations here. Instead of “make lots of money”, be specific–“earn $1 million!” NO– Write every day|Go to the gym more| Spend less time working. YES– Spend 60 minutes writing each day, or finish and publish a book.| Visit the gym for an hour three times per week.|Schedule your work for specific hours, like 9-5, or 12-8 if you are not a morning person.
Measurable: Your goal needs to have a measuring rod. Monetary goals are pretty simple– but what about things like getting fit, eating properly, effective networking, being happy? Think hard about your goals and be sure that there is a way to measure success and make that part of your plan.
Attainable: Your goals should be lofty enough to challenge you, not out of reach to attain. This one is a little subjective, because it depends upon what you feel is achievable within the given time. Stretch yourself a little here and it will pay off in big dividends. For instance, if you feel that losing 30 pounds in a year is doable, make your goal 50 pounds instead. Then put a plan in place to smash that goal and get super-fit!
Relevant: Do your goals tie in with your overall life plan? For instance, getting fit will help if one of your long-term goals is to live to be 100. Likewise, making
that large sum of money will help if your mission is to travel the world or set up a trust fund for your grandchildren. You will be much more committed to goals that take you to the places you want to go!
Timely: Quite simply, your goals need to have a deadline to create a sense of urgency. Not “someday” but in January, or by the end of summer or next Christmas, for instance.
Deadlines are a necessary part of setting up your plan to meet your goal, and will help motivate you toward all your shorter-term goals and tasks. You can set up mini-goals to meet; hitting a goal, no matter how small, can spur you on in the right direction!
Now that you have an idea of how to set goals, you need to put your plan in place to get you there.
First things first– break down your goals into a set of regular tasks that can get you closer to your goal. Brainstorm and create an action list of things you need to move you closer to your goal. You cannot eat a cow in a day– but you can break it down into tiny bits and nibble away at it.
Next, set up periodic reviews. This is the time to take a peek at what is working (Yay! Do more of that.) and rid your plan of tasks and actions that are not working out as well as you’d hoped. It is fine to adjust your plan; but always keep your eyes on the ultimate goal. This helps you get closer to your goal through the use of baby steps, as long as they are steps forward.
Tell People. Let others know what your goals are. Support and accountability of friends and colleagues can keep you on track during times when you doubt yourself.
Track your progress. Keep a chart or spreadsheet that shows your progress. This is an awesome motivation tool during times when you feel you’ve hit a snag, and can be the inspiration you need to get moving again.
Have fun. Celebrate milestones, announce benchmarks you hit, reward yourself with something fun and truly motivating. A new dress for a twenty pound weight loss? I am in! Booking a trip after hitting an earnings milestone would surely motivate me as well. The key to moving forward is having fun getting there!
I will be working on my plan for 2016 over the next few weeks– and would love to hear what your SMART and SIMPLE Goals are as well!