As the New Year approaches the internet is swamped with articles about resolutions, statistics on how many are broken, and advice on how to keep them. I offer a different approach. Goal setting for 2014.
Many of you have heard of the S.M.A.R.T. approach to goal setting. In this post I will revisit this concept and add a couple of items toward S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal setting.
When establishing a new goal see if it meets the following:
Specific: Is it specific? Be sure and be as detailed as possible when setting your goals. ”I want to lose 10 lbs.” is much better than ” I want to lose weight.”
Measurable: Can you track progress toward your goal? Is there a way to know when you have achieved your goal? An example would be “I want to make 10% more money this year.” This goal is both specific and measurable. You know how much you made this year. Now determine what an additional 10% would be…measurable.
Actionable: Do you have the ability to take action and move toward the goal? If you want to improve your health you could make a goal of losing 20 lbs. This could be done through increasing exercise and the number of vegetables in your diet. The goal is actionable because you can take steps to reach the goal. You could join a gym, buy a treadmill, shop at the farmer’s market for fresh produce, choose healthy vegetables when dining out…you get the point. You take action that moves you toward your goal. As the well known slogan by Nike states. ”Just Do It.”
Realistic: Does your goal seem like wishful thinking or is it something that can be achieved? This does not mean make your goals easy. It should be just the opposite. Push yourself outside your comfort zone. The point is to make your goal one that is reasonable and can be accomplished with discipline, focus, and hard work. To be 5’7” with a goal to play in the NBA is a nice dream but not likely. Establishing that as a goal might be a stretch.
Time Bound: Do your goals have a time limit? 3 months, 6 months, a year, 5 years? Always place a time limit on reaching your goals. This places a sense of urgency on yourself and increase your chances of being successful. This time year we want to make goals for the upcoming 12 months. I suggest breaking goals down into smaller, more manageable segments, with shorter time limits. If you want to increase practice production this year, decide how much and divide that number out over 4 quarters or on a monthly basis. The number will seem much more attainable and when you accomplish the shorter timed goals it will give you momentum to hit the big one for the year.
Ever Present: Are your goals in a place where you can see them each day? If you work to define your goals, plan them, write them out, and put them in the desk drawer you are not apt to be successful. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. Keep your goals visible. Write them out and put them on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator door. Use a smartphone application (try Stridesapp.com) or make reviewing them part of your daily routine. Just keep them in front of you as a reminder of where you want to go. Think of them as your roadmap to success.
Recorded: Did you write down your goals? This is an actionable component of setting your goals. This alone will transform your goals into a plan of action as opposed to daydreaming. A suggestion would be to write down one or two goals in each area of your life using the guidelines in this post. Try and limit your goals. I suggest 8-10 to keep them relevant and not to overwhelm yourself.
Now lets go and make this our best year ever…