One of the things which hinders your ability to achieve results, to maximise performance and to increase productivity, is a lack of clarity around goals. Goals help you establish priorities and are the foundation for actions which lead to success. But they aren’t enough on their own. In this article, I will share with you how to set goals which move you forward, and what else you need to do to make it all happen.
A well-known acronym – SMART – helps to make your goals more tangible. Without this, it is simply a to-do item in a sea of competing items in your cluttered mind. When you set well-defined goals, your unconscious mind is more able to organise itself into acting on them – you will have increased control, decreased stress and greater focus. If you have seen it before it will serve as a useful reminder.
Goals should be SMART:
Specific – vague goals produce vague results
Measurable – how will you know you have achieved it?
Achievable – not based on hope but reality with a contingency built in to deal with the unexpected
Relevant – how applicable is it to your business, your life, now and in the long term?
Timebound – what time scale do you want to achieve it within?
A poorly defined goal would be “Launch product”. A better goal would be “To create and execute a project plan for the January 5th product launch of Profit Serum to existing customers, our prospect database and industry media.”
- It should be stated in the positive (what you want, not what you don’t want)
- Identify the resources needed to achieve the goal – human, financial, physical, etc
- Consider whether you can genuinely start the goal and maintain it
- Look at the wider consequences of the goal
- Time and effort required
- Do you have buy-in from stakeholders?
- Whether anyone else is affected and how to deal with it if they are
- Does this goal impact the achievement of other goals? Which is more important? What can be done to achieve both?
- What you will have to give up in order to achieve it?
- Are you willing to give this up in the pursuit of the goal?
- Is the goal is in keeping with your values? If not, can it be changed so that it does? If not, why do you need/want it?
Making It Happen
Finally, a goal, in itself, is nothing without a plan of action. List the steps to achieving your goal and have a system to monitor your progress and to keep you on track or adjust your course as necessary. Last, but by no means least, factor in a celebration when you have achieved it!
© Tricia Woolfrey 2012
About Tricia Woolfrey – click HERE to find out about the author.