In my original 4-Dimensional Success program – guiding Savvy Entrepreneurs through those four dimensions of success: Desire, Direction, Dedication and Discipline, one of the first steps in which I engaged them was to help build their desire and develop an action plan that would be part of that achievement. A fine blend of all four dimensions takes place in setting goals; it is our goals that give us the edge.
Checking in with you today, I realized we are one fourth the way through a new year and as I assessed my own goals, I wondered where you might be – and if you are not doing so well, to encourage you to stop, right now, and establish some that will take you through the year end. I have always resonated with the SMART goal setting acronym; it is easy to remember and helps me be more realistic in setting them in the first place. I would like to share that with you now.
S = Specific and written. If you don’t know EXACTLY what you want and when you want it to occur – that nebulous nature will keep you in a start, stop, stall environment. Nothing much transpires and you get disillusioned and disheartened.
M = Measurable both in progress and completion. If you have nothing by which to measure your progress or to alert you to the fact that you have “arrived” you will be in a constant state of flux or floundering around – wondering just where the hey you are in the process.
A = Having an achievable outcome where you know, without a doubt that one specific thing has been achieved. You can think it, feel it, see it, and in the end… experience it.
R = Establishing a goal that is realistic in the amount of time you desire, and with the skills you currently have to make the goal attainable. We are taught to dream big and that is not a bad thing; it is just necessary those big dreams are broken down into smaller, more easily attained ones.
T = Time-based achievement is the idea that you are specific about when you want a particular goal completed and track back from that date/time to when you begin, and strategically design a MAP (Motivated Action Plan) that will guide you to take definite steps, in a sequence that will keep you focused, on track and fully able to attain your goal in the time frame designated.
Although the SMART Goal Setting plan looks and sounds simple, it can come with myriad challenges. The very idea of putting yourself out there for something that calls for high level performance makes you vulnerable and can be somewhat intimidating. There are ways to assuage those feelings; for example:
- If you are inclined to setting goals that are impractical – look at them a little deeper and decide whether it is possible to actually break one of those big, seemingly unrealistic goals into a series of smaller ones. Put yourself in an emotional place of agreeing that what you really desire can be a three year project that can have mileposts in years one, two and three. Make it real; make it attainable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by not being realistic in exactly what you actually can achieve and still keep a life in balance.
- If your biggest road block is the fear of failure, and you become immobilized in the face of avoiding disappointment, embrace the fact that in the very act of moving forward, even if the steps are tiny, incremental ones – the additional effort will build motivation, and that motivation will – at some point in time – miraculously reflect that you can, indeed, move far beyond being paralyzed with fear, and achieve one small goal after another.
- Perhaps you are really good at dreaming the big dream, but not so good at crafting a plan of action to bring it to fruition. To improve your productivity, give yourself a deadline and stick to it! I call this having a “date with destiny” where you put the time for your task on your calendar just as you would a meeting with a really important client, or your physician. If it makes a significant difference in your future – allocate the time it deserves!
Now… a couple of little facts you might find interesting:
- Men are 22% more likely to achieve a goal when it is specific and written down.
- Women are 10% more likely to achieve a goal when they have told others about it!
I trust this post will have either given you cause to applaud the progress you have made toward a major goal this year, encouraged to re-think them and take a course direction if necessary rather than give up, or inspired you to create a goal for the balance of the year should you be bereft of one at this point. Take a few minutes and think about what you would like to achieve before year end… in your personal life, as a professional and/or as an accomplished writer/author.