Key Learning Outcomes

  • Learn that for your business to succeed, you need to create clear and defined goals.
  • Create goals that are SMART – specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timed.
  • Use our guide to devise goals that meet the SMART criteria.
  • Recognise that SMART goals give your business a clear focus and direction, and will enhance motivation for you and your team.

Article

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” – Tony Robbins

It is well known that the most successful among us operate with clear and defined goals. Goals give us focus, a clear direction, and if set and used correctly, they can contribute to a high level of motivation. The key to successful goal-setting is to ensure your goals are what are known as “SMART” goals rather than just a vague wish list. To fit the SMART criteria, goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your business and personal goals are working for you.[wlm_ismember]

Specific

The more specific and focused your goal is, the greater the chances of achieving it. When setting your goal, answer the following questions to help create some definition:

It is essential that you drill down into the “why?” We know that the stronger your reason is for wanting something, the greater your chances of success. Imagine your goal is “to go to on an overseas trip”. This is a very vague goal. The goal could be clarified if you ask some of the above questions. For example, the goal may be refined so it is “to go on an overseas trip in December to New York because I have always wanted to see a white Christmas”. This goal is more specific and there is a greater chance that you will achieve it. You could add yet  more detail so it becomes, “to go on an overseas trip in December to New York because I have always wanted to see a white Christmas and my brother is getting married at that time”. Given part of the goal is so you can attend your brother’s wedding, there is a much greater chance that you will spend December in New York.

The clearer and more specific the goal, the greater the chances of success and the easier it is to track the progress of achieving the goal. In the above example, it will be easy to track the progress of the goal to go to New York to attend the brother’s wedding. Booked tickets, money saved and arrangements made, for example, will all be key indicators of achievement of the goal.

Measurable

Without a measurable outcome, a goal is like a ship without a rudder. You have to clearly define what the finishing line looks like. How will you know when you have got there? Specific measurements allow you to clearly monitor whether you are on or off track to achieve the goal. An Olympic athlete will set their performance goals years before the actual event. They will have worked out what time they need to run or how high they need to jump in order to qualify and then be competitive. They will be monitoring their progress on a regular basis and make modifications to their training or technique in pursuit of the ultimate goal, to win Olympic gold. It is important to measure your progress towards your end goal. If the goal is to lose weight, define how much and by when, so it is easy to monitor your progress each week.

Attainable

You need to ensure the goal is actually achievable and attainable. Look at any restrictions you might have in regard to your skills, life, schedule and knowledge so you don’t set yourself up for failure. If necessary, break the goal down into smaller parts, building as you achieve each one. This will allow you to gain momentum and grow with each success.

For example, for someone who has never run before, setting a goal to run a full marathon within six months is probably not an achievable first goal. While we advocate the “never say never” attitude, it would be better for this person to set a more realistic first goal, perhaps being able to run five kilometres within six weeks. Once this goal is achieved then reset your goal to reflect the next step until the ultimate goal of running 42 kilometres non-stop is within reach. By the time the person is able to run a half-marathon, their mindset would have shifted and without doubt the 42-kilometre run would start to look attainable and achievable.

Relevant

It is important to ensure that the goal is relevant to your life and business. Sometimes we see people whose goals are not actually relevant to them but to someone else. It is sometimes worthwhile going back to the “why?” question to determine how important the goal is. You will often see partnerships in personal and business situations fall apart because the goals of the individuals were not aligned. For you to be successful in the pursuit of a goal, it has to be relevant to you. Sometimes the goal is relevant, but the timing is not right, or the result is not in line with the effort required.

Timed

Having a deadline creates a sense of urgency and increases motivation levels. Your goal should be time bound. When will you achieve it by? If we go back to the first example of the overseas holiday, the vague goal did not give a time frame. Adding December to the goal created a sense of urgency. This person could easily ask themselves, what do I need to do today, this week or this month in order to move closer to my goal?

Here are some final tips about goals that you should keep in mind to enhance your chances of success.

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