The trick to setting goals is making them S.M.A.R.T.**: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound:
Make Goals Specific: Your goals should be as specific as possible. Start with the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, Which and Why. For example, specify that you want to own a three-bedroom, beachside vacation condo in Miami Beach, Florida. Try to be as detailed and visual as possible for each goal.
Make Goals Measurable: Each goal should be measurable in order to evaluate whether you have achieved it or not. For example, a goal to “make more money” is not measurable. How much do you really want to earn? Is it $5,000, $50,000 or $500,000 more per year? Notice what a difference just one zero can make to your goal! It’s easiest to measure goals by associating them with numbers. Ask yourself “How Much?” or “How Many?” for each goal.
Make Goals Attainable: When setting goals, I coach my clients that nothing is outside their realm of possibility. At the same time, your goals shouldn’t be outside of your scope of reality. Ask yourself, how will you accomplish each goal? For example, would you like to have your “dream home” or “dream vacation,” but feel it’s only possible by winning the lottery? If so, these are not realistic goals for you. You don’t want to give up on any goal because it’s not feasible or believable in your mind.
Make Goals Relevant: Make your goals relevant and important for you and your life. Let’s assume your goal is to obtain your Master’s degree. Is this something you really want to accomplish or others want for you? Your goals should always be in your best interest.
Make Goals Time-Bound: Setting time limits for your goals helps you direct your attention on how best to accomplish them. Are you to complete your goal in three months or three years? Set a specific time frame for each goal. With a deadline in mind, you can begin to work backward toward obtaining it by focusing on the steps you need to take now to reach your goal.
When you make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound, you are more likely to commit to accomplish them.
*'Tis the season to reflect on where you are and where you want to go in your life! If you need a bit more assistance, download my free "Sketch Your Goals" Guide for making 2012 your best year ever!
This article is derived from Ch. 3 on Goals from Sculpt Your Life From Sketch to Masterpiece(TM). This e-book program presents 12 strategies for success and is designed to motivate you to increase your productivity, reach your goals and ultimately fulfill your purpose!
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**Citation: Doran, George T. “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.” Management Review, Nov. 1981, Volume 70, Issue 11, p. 35-36.