Setting SMART GoalsThe First Step to Great Success
(Part Two of a Two-Part Series)
“Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” —J.C. Penney“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” —Seneca
Last week we discussed the importance of goal setting. This will enable you to chart your course to success. Otherwise you may wander aimlessly, wondering why you never see the results you’d like.In his book, Attitude is Everything, Paul J. Meyer explains that goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible. Remembering this will help you to define your goals in such a way that you will be more likely to achieve them. This is what makes goals SMART:SPECIFICMake your goals as specific as possible. For example, don’t just say “I want to make more money.” Make that goal more specific by defining it like this: “I want to increase my income 50% by expanding my services and marketing those services more effectively.” Defining goal specifics can help you take specific action to see the end result; whether it be acquiring new skills or learning how to market successfully, you’ll be on the path that will take you to your desired destination: increased income.MEASURABLEThe above goal is also measurable; you can assess whether or not you’ve increased your income by 50% and if that increase is related to the expansion of services and the manner in which they’re being marketed. Only when you set measurable goals can you truly see your progress, and that alone can motivate you to continue your journey forward.ATTAINABLEYou’re setting yourself up for failure when you set unattainable goals. The goal to make your one-man accounting firm the national leader is unattainable, unless, of course, you possess superhuman accounting ability. A goal is attainable when you can break it down into smaller tasks that build upon one another until you see the end result. To determine whether or not a goal is attainable, ask yourself these questions: Can you break the goal down into doable tasks? Do you have enough time, energy, and resources to accomplish these tasks? And will the successful completion of these tasks lead you closer to your goal?REALISTICSetting a goal to loose 100 pounds in one month is unrealistic (and unhealthy). This goal needs a longer timeline in order for it to be realistic. When you set your goals ensure that you can attain them with the time, energy, and resources you have available. An unattainable goal is also unrealistic. But an unrealistic goal can be altered in order for it to become both attainable and realistic. For example, it may not be realistic or attainable for you to double both your client base and your income in one month. But if you give yourself more time, say 6 months to a year, that goal becomes both realistic and attainable.TANGIBLEA goal is tangible when it can be experienced by the 5 senses. You can see more money coming into your business, you can hear the positive feedback of your clients, and you can touch your new office building. Intangible goals are vague and ambiguous. Avoid that trap by asking yourself how your goals are tangible. Not only does having a tangible goal make it more likely that you’ll accomplish it, but it also makes it easier to envision your success. And taking the time to see, feel, touch, taste, and smell the accomplishment of your goal will enable you to realize your success more quickly.While it’s important to have goals, it’s more important that those goals be SMART. When they’re SMART you’re more likely to accomplish them. So take the time today to write your goals down and assess whether or not they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and tangible. Only then can you steer your business towards the success you desire.