This three-part series looks at the ins and outs of setting goals.
- Part 1: Start at the end and you can get anywhere
- Part 2: S.M.A.R.T. goals get finished first
- Part 3: The goal is to have a goal
Often, a chief struggle for planners can be too much work and not enough time. But look closer, and you might see that it’s due more to a lack of clarity and less with being understaffed. Not sure what I mean? Keep reading.
You likely are familiar with the concept that goals are what helps people set their life direction. We’re taught that goals are important to have, so we set them and set out to conquer the world. If the goals remain elusive and we find ourselves busier and busier, this leads to frustration. The busier we get, the less time we have to spend on accomplishing our goals.
The truth is that something critical comes before the goal-setting: a PLAN. Without one, very little work can be successfully and purposefully accomplished. Symptoms of a life that lacks a plan include exhaustion, frustration, work overload, stress, disappointment in your personal and professional lives, and a general lack of direction.
Sounds too obvious, right? But pair a plan to a goal, and you have a S.M.A.R.T goal. That’s no ordinary goal, and it’s virtually bulletproof, if you do the work.
Here’s the difference between a goal and a S.M.A.R.T goal:
- Specific. Clearly identify what you want to achieve. The more specific, the greater your chance of success.
- Measurable. What does success look like? Can it be measured in pounds, dollars, hours or inches? Use whatever pertains to your quest.
- Actionable. What actions will you take to achieve this goal? In other words: What is the PLAN? Create the steps — how much time, when, doing what, etc.
- Realistic. Dreaming big is wonderful but run a reality check before you decide your goal is ready to execute.
- Timely. Is this goal attainable in the amount of time you have? You don’t have to achieve it all at once. Make sure you aren’t setting yourself up to fail by aiming too high rather than breaking the process into smaller goals.
Goal: I’m going to get my work schedule under control.
S.M.A.R.T. goal: I will prioritize my workload and delegate what I don’t need to personally handle, so I can leave the office by 6 p.m. a minimum of three days a week. To do this, I will meet with my team at 8 a.m. every Monday, reassign tasks, train everyone on exactly what is expected and mentor them throughout the process.
See the difference? More importantly, live the difference by digging in and creating a S.M.A.R.T goal of your own.
We are planners. People count on us. In order to deliver, we have to have our own path cleared and established. So take a look at what’s on your desk. Is the work created because the goals on the projects are unclear? There’s a good chance that it is.
Not sure how to tackle that monster? Read Thursday’s column.
Let’s continue the conversation. Share your S.M.A.R.T. goals and success stories in the box below and/or find me at @SMEChristy or at firstname.lastname@example.org.