SMART goals, are you creating your ideal life & business?
Are you setting smart goals? Do you even know what smart goals are? Regardless of whether you do, or don’t read on!
SMART, an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Did you know that as much as 80% of people have no goals and definitely not smart goals? While 16% of people think about their goals, but don’t get them out of their head and onto paper. 4% of people actually write them down. And, amazingly, only 1% of people write them down, review them regularly, and, consequently achieve them. What does that make them? The 1% of people who create their ideal lives through their smart goals.
Creating a list of SMART goals. Now, let’s get started by defining what smart goals mean and how they’re broken into consumable segments.
S for SPECIFIC
Specific – A specific goal will usually answer five ‘W’ questions:
- What: What do I want to accomplish?
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal. Why do I want to do / achieve this?
- Who: Who is involved? – your ideal audience, perfect clients, the people I want to work with?
- Where: Identify a location. Where will I do this, do I a want to be a digital nomad or location independence?
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Are your goals physical objects that are tangible or are they ambiguous? Many people lose motivation because of unclear goals and consequently they give up too early or just before things start to really take off. The key to success? Make each goal SPECIFIC. Start with my Life Recipe workbook and get those smart goals or at least ideas on paper.
M for MEASURABLE
Measurable – To achieve success, goals need to be measured. If you’re deciding between being a digital nomad and location independence you should ask yourself:
- How much? – do I want to earn, a day, week, month or year?
- How many? – how many trips, countries, jobs, hours a day working, blog posts, sign ups, clients, product launches…
- When and how will I know when each goal has been accomplished and I can tick it off my list as DONE?
- What will I consider a success versus a failure?
In what way will you measure your progress at the end of the year, or how will you know when you’ve achieved your objective? Think about what specific criteria you’ll have to fulfill to reach the specific outcome you want. It’s a good idea to team up with a friend or colleague who you trust and create an “accountability” relationship, this helps you push and strive for each goal, with support.
A for ATTAINABLE
Attainable – An achievable goal will usually answer the question HOW?
- How can I accomplish the goal? How can I become a digital nomad or location independent?
- Can I make the goal realistic, based on other constraints? What limitations will I come across if I choose to be a digital nomad or location independence?
Set goals that will make you stretch, and learn, and grow. But don’t set unrealistic, far-fetched goals that will only discourage you when you don’t meet them. Work out your priorities and assess how much you are already doing, what can you let go of and what do you need to work on more?
Goals are like magnets, they attract the things that make them come true – Tony Robbins
R for RELEVANT
Relevant – A relevant goal should answer yes to these questions:
- Is it worthwhile? Will I get a significant (to me) return for my time, energy and money?
- Is it the right time to be doing this?
- Does this match my other efforts/needs?
- Am I the right person to do this or should I hand it over to someone who is able to do it better, faster, cheaper than me?
- Is it going to support my other projects and ideas in a cohesive way?
I really like the “R” in smart goals, as it really makes me questions the importance of the goal. Any hesitation or uncertainty indicates that no, the goal is not that important and can be let go without hesitation. It’s a great exercise to help you re-assess your bigger and longer term plans and work out if, in fact, they are still your dreams.
T for TIME
Time – A time-bound goal usually answers the questions:
- What needs to be done now?
- In the next 30 days, what can I do?
- Within six weeks from now, what can I make possible?
- What will I have achieved or done 3 months from now?
- What can I do in the next 6 months from now?
A committed deadline or target date is important to help focus your energies and day to day activities towards your goals. So you need to ask yourself – when do I need to complete this step or this goal? Before the end of the week, the second quarter, the end of the year? Make sure you can be flexible with your deadline, as occasionally life does get in the way and best-laid plans can go awry. Create a calendar or schedule and plot your activities and commitments to ensure that you keep those time targets in check! Be flexible in addition to being realistic with your time frames, because consequently you’ll have a higher chance of success in achieving your smart goals.
Have you got a clearer idea about smart goals now? Great.
What do you need to do next?
- Create some time alone where you’re able to concentrate either outside in nature or anywhere you feel calm and centred
- Organise a book or paper in which to write with pens, pencils, paint, magazines. Whatever you need to create your whole idea or ideas.
- Be comfortable, wear clothes that won’t irritate you and will keep warm / cool (depending on where you are)
- Turn off your phone, or at least on silent and in another room
- Grab some scooby snacks and a drink, make it hard to leave the table or get distracted.
- Create an ambient atmosphere, ‘L’allegro con spirito’ from the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major K448 by Mozart can improve your brain function and receptivity to problem solving and creativity
- Write your goals down, create a draft of ideas or a mind map and see what stands out as important. It’s an interesting exercise to clarify what is really important, what would be nice and what sounds good in your head and sh*t on paper.
- Break your ideas and potential goals into smaller bite size chunk and apply the smart goal system to them, make them actionable!
- Create a huge copy of your smart goals for your wall, or a smaller version for your diary and revisit it, regularly. Because looking at and reading your smart goals regularly will help you stay focused due to the fact that you’re constantly reminding yourself of the bigger picture.
Once you have your goals, arrange to have an accountability partner, someone who helps you to achieve these smart goals and holds you accountable! Business gurus such as Leonie Dawson strongly advocate both smart goals and business accountability partners, as combined they help goal achievement.
Smart goals or any kind of goals are great because they can be changed. It’s fantastic to take goals off your list if they no longer apply to what you want to achieve. And rather than be annoyed or frustrated, be happy, this means you’re getting closer to exactly what you want to achieve. So, remember, you CAN adjust your smart goals as your list evolves and you begin to set AND achieve your goals.
Why is all this important? Because in order to achieve anything you need to know what it is you want. While most of us don’t have goals we see repeated success for those who do. Hands up everyone who wishes they were more like the top 1%? Rather than wishing to be in the top 1%, make yourself be a part of that 1% and get proactive, you’re probably doing a lot of what you need to do. Perhaps a few extra actions or tweaks of your time, energy and focus and you’ll be on the express track to your ideal life.
Since goals are easy to lose site and track of here are a few tips:
- First of all, make them small enough to be achieved, but challenging enough to keep you interested
- Create a system that keeps track of your progress toward each goal
- Another key action is to report your progress and sideways (or backward) movement to someone supportive
- In addition to reporting, celebrate your successes, lessons learned and near misses
- Finally, and most importantly – have fun!
As much as we all love setting goals, it can be tricky sticking to them. Therefore, if you want some help, here are some resources I use and recommend you consider using.
- Leonie Dawson’s Create your Shining Year Workbooks are especially relevant as they take you through a step by step process.
- Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4 Hour Work Week is noteworthy as he inspires lateral thinking
- In addition to Leonie and Tim, I always find a lot of helpful information and insight on Mindtools
And finally, as Henry Ford says,
Whether you think you can or you can’t. Either way, you’re right.