Goals are not just for corporate leaders and sales people, they are for everyone! They are the bedrock of any achievements we have over time. Sure, you can have one time successes or accomplishments without them, but those individuals who are repeatedly achieving what they desire, are the ones setting goals! They keep our desired outcomes to the forefront of our thoughts, drive us, motivate us, and encourage us on the days that we may not feel up to it. The bottom line is they help keep us on track to achieving whatever we set out to achieve.
So now that we know why goals are important for everyone, let's talk some about how to set effective goals for ourselves. The most popular style is the S.M.A.R.T. goal, it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, & Time-Bound.
Make sure that your goals are focused and identify a tangible outcome! Being more specific helps you identify what you want to achieve and not be too vague. You should also identify what resources you will will utilize to help you attain your desired outcome. Saying that I want to become a better baseball player is not a specific goal. Saying that I want to have a batting average of .350 is specific.
There needs to be a clear definitive outcome of the goal you set for yourself. This will help you evaluate your achievement and progress leading up to it. This is often the piece that will answer the question of, did you meet what you set out to accomplish. Back to the example above, becoming a better hitter is hard to measure without having the desired batting average to be able to say that yes, you in fact did become better.
This piece of the goal is important because you want to strive for a high-standard, but also something that can be achieved. They should be stretch and achievable goals, but also within your ability to attain the desired outcome. If you are currently batting .100, it most likely would not make sense to say that you want to increase your average by .400! A better more achievable goal would be to increase your average by .100.
We want to set goals that are relevant to our overall direction of growth and improvement, one that means something to you! If you are a baseball player, it would not make sense to say that you want to become better at kicking field goals!
This is a very important component of effective goal setting! You have to have a timeframe of when you want to reach your desired outcome. It helps you monitor your overall progress and gives you a deadline of when it should be accomplished. By saying you want to increase your batting average by .100, we don't know when this needs to happen by, it could be this season, next season, 4 years from now, and so on. By saying that I want to increase my batting average by .100 this season, we now know when!
So looking at the characteristics of a S.M.A.R.T. goal, an example would be, I want to increase my batting average by .100 by the end of this season, which is August 1, to become a better baseball player.
Some other helpful tips in regards to accomplishing your goals.
Write your goals down and keep them in places you see everyday!
Keep track of your progress.
Break them down into smaller pieces.
Get help where you need it.
Keep your eyes on the prize!
Be consistent, even when you don't feel up to it.
Focus on positive thinking. Visualize the outcome and what it will be like when you reach it.
Celebrate every success along the way!
Cut the excuses!
Understand it will be uncomfortable, you are growing!