Setting goals is a great idea. All the time. Any time.
Every day, minute or moment is an opportunity to make positive change.
But there is something extra powerful about setting goals this time of year! Hope and optimism and possibilities are thick in the air like snowflakes! There is something about the collective energy for this time of year that helps us, with support, supplies, ideas, gadgets, gear, etc.
Setting goals this time of year (call them Resolutions, if you’d like!) helps us formulate our plans for the days and months to come. And consider this, making a plan makes success more likely. As both Ben Franklin and Winston Churchill are credited with saying, “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.”
My favorite tool to help us set and meet our goals is the SMART Method (George T. Doran). The SMART Method tells us that goals need to be:
- Attainable / Achieveable
- Relevant; and
Make goals SPECIFIC.
- Perhaps your goal is to “make the world a better place!”
- Admirable, to be sure, but… How will it be better? And how will you do it? And Where? And When? And Who will be affected?
- Make your goal specific, answer the Who/What/Where/When/ Why questions, and you’re already one step closer to completing your goal!
- A Specific goal might be: “I will help the children, grades 4-6, of my local community by creating a life-skills class to be offered this summer at our local library.”
- A goal has to be measurable, or how will we know we have met it? My web expert (Clarie Richards with Amplify7) reminds us that “we can’t improve on something unless we measure it”. My social media pages offer metrics for success – how many people opened an email, liked my FB page, were reached by my Twitter post, etc., and those metrics help me better plan my actions.
- For example, we all know that if our goal is to lose weight, the first thing we do is get on the scale or take some measurements. Consider, too – measurements towards that weight loss goal may be how many steps I’m taking (thank you, Fit Bit), or how much water I’m drinking (thank you, Plant Nanny App).
- So make your goal measurable, figure out exactly what you want to measure, and determine how you will know you’re done!
- Make sure that the goal you set out to achieve is actually do able. I can change the world, it’s true. However… I probably can’t grow a foot taller, join a professional sports team or run a marathon in the next week.
- Remember, too, that achievement requires action. We can’t just sit there and expect things to happen. Goals go nowhere without action. Create an action plan to achieve your goals.
- Let’s take a moment here to remember: we can only make goals for ourselves; and we cannot force goals on others. Our goals may be in conjunction with another person’s goal, like a business plan with a business partner, or a healthy living plan for the whole family.
- Break down your goals to make them achievable. Big goals are a series of small goals, or, broken down even further, a series of tasks or steps. Set a big goal, then break it into bite-size actionable steps.
- Make your goals achievable, but also use them to stretch you as a person! Don’t make your goals too small!
- State meaningful goals, and you will be more likely to meet them. This step asks us to ask “Why?”
- Why dedicate time, energy and resources to a goal unless it’s is relevant? Why are we setting this goal?
- And then, we need to repeat our WHY all the time and everywhere!
Make goals TIMELY.
- Set a time frame for your goals. A SMART Goal needs to be timely, time specific. “I will achieve xyz goal by March 1st” or “next Tuesday.”
- Every goal needs a deadline, or else its just a wish. Set a deadline, and then make mid-goal benchmarks to check your progress. Make the goal time-frame long enough but not too long!
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