Setting SMARTer Goals
January is a great time to set new goals for the year ahead, get clear on your intentions and the steps to take to achieve the life you want and feel fulfilled. But setting goals is different to creating New Year resolutions. Did you know that by 17th January most people have decided to ditch their New Year resolutions because they have already failed them just a few short weeks into the year?
This is because most resolutions that we are set are negative; “stop eating chocolate”, “no alcohol for January”, “stop scrolling so much on my phone”. We are setting ourselves up to fail when we focus on the negative because our brain is trained to ignore that negative aspect and therefore zones in on “eating chocolate” “alcohol for January”, “scrolling on phone”.
Therefore to be successful at achieving our goals we need to make them positive, we need to get our brains on board with the idea and we need to get SMARTer at setting them.
When it comes to setting yourself up for success you need to focus on some extraordinary goal setting. Great goals are:
a) Outcome focussed: Once you understand your WHY (and it’s an enthusiastic WHY) you’re 90% there! So what is the outcome you desire and why do you want to achieve it so much. Really focusing on that outcome and how it makes you feel is key to tapping into the energy of your goal and maintaining success.
b) In line with your values: The more a goal aligns with your inner or core values – the EASIER it will be to achieve.
c) Stated in the positive: ie. “I want healthy fingernails” rather than “I want to stop biting my nails”.
What are SMART goals all about?
You may have heard the terms SMART goals in business or corporate reading material and it is a handy acronym to help you focus on setting better goals. Setting SMART goals means you get better at clarifying your ideas, focusing your efforts, using your time and resources productively, and increasing your chances of achieving what you want in life.
SMART is separated out into five areas, let’s delve into each one:
This is about getting really clear on what you are trying to achieve. Without being specific you can drift away from the goal because it’s intention isn’t clear and therefore it can be difficult to push yourself to achieve. Your goal should be clear and specific in order to help you focus your efforts.
So think about these questions :
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- What does this goal really mean?
You want to drill down into the details so that you know exactly what you are trying to achieve and why. Be specific, so that every day you know you are progressing towards it.
It’s important to have measurable goals so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Being able to measure your success keeps you going on those days when it’s tough, perhaps it’s harder than you thought but by having a measurable goal you can see how much progress you have made and it can keep your focus. Think about how you will know that this goal is accomplished, how can you measure the progress being made.
Having a measurable goal also helps you formulate staged deadlines for achieving the life you desire and you can also celebrate the success as you get closer to achieving your goal, tapping into the energy that this progress gives you.
A lot of the time the A of SMART goals is “achievable” but sometimes that leads people to be too lenient on themselves and make it too attainable to achieve success. Yes you need to be able to achieve your goal and it needs to be realistic, but that comes next.
Perhaps A for Action would be more suitable; how can you take action to achieve your goal? What are you going to do to achieve it? Be specific again and be clear on all of the small steps that you can do to achieve the larger goal.
It is important to make sure that your goal is achievable and therefore realistic in your mind, you don’t want to be setting yourself up for failure. Your goal should stretch your abilities but remain possible. You will need to think about how realistic the goal is based on other parts of your life and the constraints you may face such as the time, money, resources and ability needed to achieve. If we make our goals too unrealistic, we feel like we will never achieve them, hence we don’t try hard enough to make progress.
Our goals must be realistic and realised to be achieved.
Every goal needs a target date so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This is a key part of the goal-setting progress so that you can make sure that everyday tasks don’t always take priority over your wider goals. Also by having a time frame associated with your goal you can give yourself some clear focus and not let it drift.
One extra method when it comes to setting a deadline for your goals is about how you take action to achieve them. Think about what you can do this month to achieve your goal, what can you do this week and what can you take action on today to start working towards it. Focusing on time brings a greater sense of reality to that goal and makes sure that it is at the forefront of your brain’s organisational system when it comes to prioritising tasks.
What are SMARTer goals all about
Let’s take our goal-setting process to the next level by making them smarter still…
I like to add in ‘E’ for energy and ‘R’ for resources.
When it comes to setting goals you want to focus on the outcome and the energy you need to put into achieving those goals.
I recommend spending some time journaling on these questions:
- What is it that you REALLY want?
- What is the SPECIFIC outcome you’re looking for? Make sure that you focus on this key part and really tap into how that specific outcome makes you feel when you think about achieving it.
- What is the PAIN for you of NOT achieving your goal?
- Finally, what RESOURCES do you need to achieve your goals? Perhaps you already have some in place to help but maybe there are some areas that you need to ask for assistance. Make a list so that you know what is available to you or what you need to search for in order to achieve your goals. Perhaps those resources include; support from other people, enlarging your contacts list, personal qualities, knowledge, skills, money, time etc.
When it comes to goal setting, it is important to give proper time and focus to the process so that you have the most opportunity to achieve your goals.
Now is the time to think about what you might have to give up or stop doing to achieve this goal, thinking about anything else around this goal that hasn’t been mentioned in this process that would help you achieve your goal. And finally think about who you need to be to achieve this goal, it is important to get into the right energetic space to have the best opportunity to achieve success.