We talked about how to simplify your goals last week so I would like to build on that a bit by not only making sure your goals are simple but also S.M.A.R.T. With all you have going on in your life there is no reason you should be working any harder than you have to. If you are anything like me there are seemingly more and more things to get done throughout the day, so how amazing would it be if every ounce of energy you exerted had specific meaning and purpose. When your work is S.M.A.R.T. you ultimately become more efficient with the ability to cover much more ground than you may otherwise.
Ideally, our goals should set out to serve us in the best way possible. When brainstorming or thinking about what you would like to accomplish in life try asking yourself the following questions… how will completing the goal make my life better? What will I have that I don’t have now once the goal is complete? What will I be able to do differently once the goal is achieved? Having a clearer understanding of these questions will help you to get S.M.A.R.T. with your goals increasing the probability of achievement in a highly recognizable way. So let’s clarify what S.M.A.R.T. means.
When I say S.M.A.R.T. I don’t mean intellectually advanced like one would commonly think. Although thinking in an intelligent way when brainstorming goals is helpful, a S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time- bound.
Now knowing that, let’s break this down piece by piece.
Specific- This element entails the details of the goal and is where you get really specific about what success looks like. This phase of the goal includes who, what, when, where, how and why. What does it look like when the goal is achieved? This should be so clear that there shouldn't be any room for questions about what you would like to achieve.
Example: Secure affordable shared office space with other creative start up entrepreneurs that allows privacy to meet with clients in Manhattan where I will work Monday thru Friday by May 1, 2016.
Measureable- This is how you will measure your success. How will you know you are effectively moving in the right direction toward achievement? When will you know you are done?
Example: I will tour at least 3 potential spaces per week until I have a signed contract on the space that best fits my needs for May 1, 2016.
Achievable- This phase of the goal speaks to its attainability. Is what you set out to do achievable based on your resources and all other factors at play? Your goals should stretch you just enough so you feel challenged but not so much that you don’t feel confident enough to achieve them. Do you have the knowledge, skill, talent to reach success?
Example: I will research online as well as ask friends for recommendations on spaces to contact. I will also increase flexibility and make necessary shifts in my schedule for tours. Finally, I will work with my accountant to determine my max budget toward this investment.
Relevant- This phase is all about what accomplishing this goal will mean. How will achieving it make a difference? What will it change? What is the opportunity cost is you do not achieve it? Is the goal worth exerting energy toward?
Example: Moving into office space will provide me with much needed home/work life balance while also providing me with an opportunity for increased creativity and productivity working alongside others on a daily basis. Ultimately this move will help to grow my business exponentially in the way I am able to attract and work with clients as well as increase revenue.
Time Bound- This is where we set a date or time to have the goal completed. When would you like to be done? This should be a specific date to create a sense of urgency. If the goal has a longer time bound period (typically over 6 months), this also becomes a good place to measure milestones of the goal as you break it down into smaller pieces.
Example: I will have a signed contract and moved into shared office space by May 1, 2016.
Once we have worked through this process our goals become much more clearly defined and manageable and an increased success rate of completion isn’t the only thing we have to be proud of. We are now truly living and acting with purpose. Everything that is happening is for cause, in one way or another, and that is success. There are no more empty actions or needless setbacks to take you off course. You are here and you are S.M.A.R.T.
I challenge you this week to turn one of your many goals into a S.M.A.R.T. goal by utilizing the formula above. Test it out and see just how effective your life becomes. Remember these tips are to be utilized for professional and personal life matters alike so they will work for anything you choose to do.
Remember, you only have one life so make it the best you can.
Stop working harder and start working S.M.A.R.T.ER!