Creating SMART Goals is Your Key to Success. Just because we have the motivation to see our goals through to the end, doesn’t mean that they will be achieved. Motivation, hoping, wishing and maintaining a positive attitude are key ingredients, but they are not necessarily SMART goals if an action plan isn’t also attached.
You have heard of a SMART goal before, yes? If not, here it:
You may have only heard of a SMART goal. I have also included the WISE because wise it has a link word in being smart.
Here is how you can define your own SMART goals and create an action plan from them:
S: Specific – Be very specific when defining and setting your goals. The more you define the outcome, the easier it will be to measure. By the same token, make it simple. Don’t use big words, long phrases and overcomplicated verbiage.
M: Measurable – The goal must be measurable. You must have a way to make it meaningful and a way to understand how you know it is on track to becoming achieved.
A: Achievable– Lofty goals are great, but if they are truly unattainable they are likely to not be meaningful, and you will likely not be able to follow through. Just because we wish and hope for something doesn’t mean it’s truly attainable. I wish to win the lottery , but that’s 99.9% unattainable. Two different things. Make sure you are setting yourself up to achieve.
R: Realistic– To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
T: Timely– Without an end in sight, we tend to carry out tasks and goals for an infinite amount of time. With an infinite amount of time, you will likely never achieve the goal. Put an end cap on that goal. I also put mini end caps on my goals, tracking them along the way. What have you done to achieve the goal daily, weekly, monthly?
WISE stands for:
Using these criteria to improve your goals will transform them into a more powerful approach.
Writing your goals is a critical step, and one many people miss. Writing forces you to be clear in your thinking. It allows you to look at your plans with objectivity. It instills commitment and puts your thoughts in a durable form you can revisit again and again.
Integrating your ideas means bringing them together in the same place, so you can look at them all at once. Allow your personal and professional lives to intermingle. It’s OK if right under “increase profit share” you have “get more rest.” They both improve your quality of life. They both contribute to your definition of success. You get to have it all. There are no rules. You make it up.
Whereas integrating your goals means bringing them together, synergizing means making them work together. Synergy happens when one idea advances another. Keeping a vision of what you want in mind when you think about your goals will help create that synergy. You really lose something when you decouple your goals from your vision; they become just another prioritized list.
The most powerful and peaceful way to think about your efforts is to see how they can coalesce into one complete vision for your life.
Think big. Your goals should inspire you to stay on the path to your dreams, not lock you into a pattern of ticking off bite-sized action items from here to retirement.
This may be the biggest difference between SMART and WISE thinking. Spending too much time and energy boxing your objectives into a hard and fast formula can squeeze the life right out of them.
Every good leader has goals. Your goals will help you stay on track to achieve your bigger vision day after day, and the “SMARTer” they are, the more productive you’ll be. However, make sure your goals are also WISE enough to inspire you, excite you and move you in new and exciting ways. You will find you don’t just meet your goals,; they’ll actually better you.
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