Why you must set SMART goals
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals and, spoiler alert, they’re not rocket science… but they do work.
SMART goals are an excellent filter to maximise planning outcomes.
With the SMART acronym comes five simple parameters; that any goal (if you truly want to achieve it) must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
When thinking about goals vs SMART goals, consider the difference between “I want a healthier diet” and “I want to eat less than 2,000 calories a day, 6 days per week to lose 7 kg within 3 months and reduce my LDL cholesterol to 80”. Which goal compels you to act?
Let’s break it down:
1. Is your goal Specific? The what, who, how, when and why.
2. Is your goal Measurable? You must be able to determine your progress - how much profit have you made / kgs lost / tickets sold / leads converted? Keep your progress visual by tracking it in a spreadsheet or an app.
3. Is your goal Achievable? Do you have the support, resources and ability to achieve it? Strike a balance between somewhat challenging and impossibly demotivating. For example, if you wish to take up running, it’s unlikely your goal will be to qualify for the 1,500m at the 2021 Olympics. Completing your local half marathon may be challenging enough.
4. Is your goal Relevant? Does it work in with your personal plan or business’s vision? For example, if you run a vegan café, creating and selling a new beef product might not be a relevant goal for your business. There’s no point working hard on your goals if they’re the wrong goals.
5. Is it Time-bound? Remove the temptation to procrastinate. Lock in a timeframe - a realistic timeframe - that will propel you to act.
Run the SMART filter over your current goals to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success.
And, don’t forget to reward your hard work. The dopamine hit we experience from completing tasks and achieving goals encourages us to repeat such behaviour, helping us turn our goals into habits.
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“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.” - Joe Vitale