Making Changes Happen This Year with SMART Goal Setting – Why and How?
As the suntan fades and the holiday period becomes a distant memory, you might recall thinking at some point about what you were going to achieve this year. Get fit, lose weight, drink less alcohol, improve your diet, earn more, get more balance with your work/lifestyle, perform better at work, improve your relationships, find a partner or learn a new skill or language … inevitably, for most people, there is something they want to change in their lives, which is great because change is good!
To quote Dale Carnegie: “if you are not getting better you are effectively getting worse”.
So why is it that the desire for change and the actual actions and behaviours don’t always align? What gets in the way? Your motivators play an important role, which are often linked to your core beliefs. Understanding what your underlying need for change is at an emotional level along with your sense of purpose will help you set the right goals.
Setting effective goals is a way of ensuring you focus on the right things, take action within a defined time frame and ultimately reach the outcomes you desire. People who set goals are more likely to bring about changes in their lives than those who don’t. A coach can help you identify your motivators, work with you on your emotional connection, assist with setting the right goals, keep you focussed on the actions needed and support you as an accountability partner.
Goals need to be SMART or SMARTER. This means they must be Specific, Measurable, Action orientated, Realistic and Time Framed. For business goals, they also need to consider the Economic impact and Return on the investment of time or money. A goal should be written down and always starts with “I will …”. This means you own it and are responsible for executing it!
Specific means a clearly identified objective and keeping it simple beats complex every time. A Measure of success is critical in knowing how to determine when you have succeeded and allows management. This also helps to monitor progress and celebrate short-term wins along the way to maintain motivation. A reality check as to where you are at currently with achieving the goal gives a place to start from and explores how Realistic the Time frames are. Actions are imperative. Make a detailed list of all the actions to ensure you have actually thought about what you are going to do. Timeframes increase the urgency and likelihood of the goal being reached. Consider also how the goal will impact you and/or your business Economically and how the use of time and resources will provide an acceptable Return on investment.
Now you are ready to write a SMART goal. Here is an example.
I will set 1 × personal goal and 1 × professional goal for each ¼ of 2016 and complete each of these within 90 days.
Write down my New Year’s resolutions
Prioritise my list into Vital, Important, Maybe and select the vital ones for the 1st 90 days
Schedule time in my calendar to write SMART goals this Saturday …