Goal-setting is sometimes made to look harder and more futile than it really is. I mean, how many people write down goals every year and swear to achieve them, only to fall flat on their face without even getting halfway there?
You’re probably guilty of it too.
Worry not, though. It’s not that you are a hopeless mortal who cannot stick to whatever they set their mind to (hopefully). It probably means you are approaching goal-setting the wrong way.
With a bit of proper planning, you can streamline the science and strategy you use to work on your goals so that achieving them becomes easier.
Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goal-Setting Strategy
S.M.A.R.T. is acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive.
It is a simple but highly effective formula that creates a verifiable path towards whatever goal you have set, complete with clear milestones and an approximation of how long it will take to realize that goal.
Let’s look at one at a time.
One of the most common reasons many people flounder with their goal achievement is because they set ambiguous goals. Vague goals produce vague results. Incomplete goals lead to incomplete futures. The more specific you describe a goal, the higher the chances of attaining it.
There is a difference between saying, “I want to be a millionaire” and “I want to make $20,000 a month for the next three years by renting out properties.”
To be more specific when setting goals, you might want to ask yourself what you want to achieve exactly and how you plan on doing that.
Measurable goals means creating goals that are easily quantifiable.
- “I want to reduce my personal debt in the next three years.”
- “I want to increase business revenue by 20% this year.”
These are both measurable goals, but these other two are not:
- “I want to increase my personal satisfaction.”
- “I want to work harder.”
Measurable means identifying what you will see, hear, and feel when you attain your goal.
To do that, you need solid evidence. Being happier is not evidence. Becoming leaner because you have cut back on junk and adhere to clean eating that includes vegetables in every meal is.
The good thing about defining the physical manifestation of your goal is that you make it clearer and therefore easier to achieve.
Put your goals in writing to help you stay on track while also monitoring the progress you are making.
While it is good to have challenging goals, they also need to be attainable. There is nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, but you need to be practical at the same time.
For example, if you own a family bookstore, the goal to overtake Amazon in sales is not reasonable. But when you aim to flip 15 properties within a 12-month period and you manage 12, that’s not too bad.
Attaining a goal also means you need to have the money, time, or skill to do so. But this should not be misinterpreted to mean you cannot take something that seems out of reach and actualize it—because by planning smartly and giving it your all, who knows!
This refers to setting goals that are in line with your long-term plans.
For example, writing a real estate book about investing in rental properties will help establish yourself as an expert in the field of rental properties. Consequently, this will allow you to reach more real estate investors, prospective or established, who need advice on investing in rental property.
In short, if your goal is to become an expert investor, your short-term goals should directly reflect this.
Anyone can set goals, but if they lack a realistic timeframe, there is a fat chance you are not going to achieve them.
It is imperative to provide a target date for your deliverables. Ask yourself questions (specific questions) pertaining to the goal and what can realistically be achieved within that window of time.
If, for example, you have a goal that takes three months to complete, it would serve you well to define what you need to achieve halfway through that time period.
The upside to providing time constraints is it creates a sense of urgency, which is good to keep you on your toes.
It is important to be realistic when creating your S.M.A.R.T. goals, but equally important is to approach the task with a positive mindset. After all, this is something that you really want to achieve.
Another strategy that you can couple with the S.M.A.R.T. approach is the backward planning technique. This involves projecting yourself to such a time as you have accomplished your goal and then working backwards.
This should complement your S.M.A.R.T. goal setting very well, providing a clearer glimpse of the path to get you there and what it takes to achieve success.
What are your S.M.A.R.T goals for the coming year?