My Sharing Part 2: Goal Setting

Now that you have learned the “To-Do List” method to manage your time properly, I hope you put the "To-Do List" method into practice.

In this post I’m going to share with you about SETTING YOUR GOALS the "SMART" way.

If you haven't read the Time Management post, you can read it at My Sharing Part 1: Time Management.

If you want to REALLY succeed you need Smart Goals

There is this saying: ‘Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.’ — Licius Seneca

The meaning of this quote is that, whenever you want something, you need to have a target to aim for. For example, if you want to break the 100M World Record of 9.69 seconds, what do you have to do and what is you aim? Your aim has to be 9.68 seconds or faster. It must be as specific.

You might be saying to yourself “Setting goals are very simple” Right? NO it’s not.

For those that have been to business school or read books on goal setting you might be familiar with the acronym SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable or Attributable, Realistic or Reasonable, and Timed. Let me explain briefly what each letter of the SMART Goal formula entails.

S = Specific
Your goals mustn’t be vague and they must be as specific as they can be. For example, a goal to “Be more successful in 2009” is too vague as it doesn’t define what success is. For one person success might be to pass their exams, for another it might be to retire from their job, and yet for another person it might be to earn over $10,000/month.

M = Measurable
As well as being specific your goals should be measurable. If your goal is related to money you might set a goal to “Earn over $100,000” or maybe to “Increase your monthly income by 25%”. If your goal was sports related you might say “To knock three seconds off my personal best time” or “To win three major tournaments”.

A = Actionable or Attributable
There’s no point in setting goals that are not actionable or attributable, if you have no direct control over the outcome. For example it would be silly to set a goal for your favorite sporting team to win the league if you cannot directly influence that outcome. But if you are the team coach, the owner of the team or even one of the players this could be a goal that is actionable, but if you are just a fan there is nothing you can do that will have any impact on the outcome and so it is not actionable or attributable.

Likewise, you couldn’t set a goal to “Win the Lucky Draw” as it is not a goal that you can directly influence. Yes, you can join the lucky draw, but you cannot influence the numbers that will be drawn out and so it is not actionable.

R = Realistic or Reasonable
When setting goals you need to be realistic. Setting a goal such as “To be the world’s best-selling singer” is not a realistic goal if you’ve never made a record, don’t have a recording contract and you sound like a cat being strangled. Even if that was your ultimate goal it’s best to break it down and take several smaller steps. For example, you might start off with a goal of taking singing lessons, forming a band, writing a song, recording a song, or maybe getting a recording deal, but having a goal to be bigger than Britney Spears or any other singers is not a great first step.

T = Timed
A well thought out goal must include a timescale and must not be open ended. For example “To get promotion” is too vague. It would be far better to have a goal that said “To get promoted by 1st July 2009”.

Yea I know you might confuse, but don’t worry. I have an example of a "SMART" Goal for you all.

Here's the "SMART" Goal Example

To be a "SMART" goal your goals must meet all of the above criteria. It must be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timed. If any one of the criteria is missing then it’s not a SMART goal. Here’s an example of a simple well thought-out goal that makes excellent use of the SMART formula.

GOAL: To be promoted to the position of Senior Manager by 1st July 2009

This goal meets the specific criteria because you are saying you want to be promoted to be Senior Manager. Not just promoted, but promoted specifically to the Senior Manager position. This gives you razor sharp focus as to exactly what you want to achieve.

This goal is measurable because you have stated exactly what constitutes success, which is reaching the position of Senior Manager. If you get promoted to be the Senior Manager’s Assistant you have not reached your goal as the standard you have set yourself is the position of Senior Manager. Being promoted is not good enough, it must be a promotion to the Senior Manager’s position if you are to reach the goal you have set.

This goal is actionable because you are in control of whether you get promoted or not. If you work hard, take any necessary classes, and bring yourself to the attention of the people who hand out promotions then you can reach your goal. Yes, the ultimate decision may lie with senior members of staff, but if you go about things correctly then you should be able to influence their decision in the correct way.

Obviously, if there is no possibility of being promoted to Senior Manager then this is not an actionable goal. For example, if there is only one Senior Managers role available and that job is being done by someone who has no plans to move on, move up or retire then this wouldn’t be an actionable goal.

If you are currently working as the janitor it may be unrealistic to set a goal to be a Senior Manager within a year (not necessarily though if you are willing to put in a LOT of hard work), but if you are already on this career path then the goal would be a sensible one and so would pass the realistic test.

This goal is timed because you have put an exact date for achieving the goal. Putting an exact date takes away any open-endedness and lets you know exactly when the goal must be achieved by. Yes, you might get the promotion several months earlier, in which case you have surpassed your goal, but if the date of 1st July 2009 comes and goes and you have not got the promotion then you have not achieved your goal. Having a specific deadline adds urgency to your goals and allows you to create smaller sub goals that will help you reach towards your major goals.

Using this clever acronym means you can easily remember all of the attributes necessary to set SMART goals for yourself. As soon as you start to use this method of goal setting you will see an amazing transformation. Gone will be the vague goals that you set and then forgot about. In their place will be highly targeted goals that give you razor-sharp focus that will let you hit your goals like a heat seeking missile.

Inspirational Quotes for Goal Setting

‘High expectations are the key to everything.’ — Sam Walton

‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’ — Oscar Wilde

‘You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.’ — Yogi Berra

‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.’ — Les Brown

‘The moon is the first milestone on the road to the stars.’ — Arthur C. Clarke

‘Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.’ — Leonardo Da Vinci

‘Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.’ — Henry Ford

‘You can’t rest unless you set goals that make you stretch.’ — Tom Hopkins

‘Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.’ — C. S. Lewis

After reading both of the post, I hope that you will put what has been shared into practice. For example, the To-Do List method and the "SMART" Goal Setting formula.

For the To-Do List if you have your own method of setting one and it suites you well, continue using it.

But for Setting Goals, I recommend that you use the "SMART" formula. This is because it's been proven to work by business schools and successful people.

To wrap things up, I have a last quote to share with you.


To Your Success,

Ben The Drummer

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