Whether you’re a business owner looking for a proactive blueprint, or an individual who wants to optimize their life, having a SMART action plan is what matters.
Goal-setting is a wonderful process, but often, it sets us up for failure. That may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true! Why do people fail to achieve their carefully laid-out dreams?
The answer can be several things.
Many people have unrealistic expectations in which they set lofty goals while already having a full plate. Others deal with habitual negative thinking patterns, and some simply procrastinate. Still, more have vague goals that don’t offer a direct approach, and this causes focus to be off.
How can you avoid these common mistakes and set SMART goals that are achievable and realistic?
In this guide, we offer a fantastic blueprint for getting things done. Don’t waste another minute—keep reading now!
We mentioned that one common problem with goal-setting is being vague.
Instead of thinking, “I want to be the best worker in my company,” think more along the lines of, “These are the skills I need to develop to move up in my company.”
As you can see, the former goal is too large to measure—what does being the best worker mean, exactly? With the latter train of thought, you’ll know which specific skills you’ll need to hone to achieve that success.
Keep your goals specific, simple, and concise. As much as possible, trim the fat from your goals and boil them down to their steps. What steps do you need to take?
Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and outline the ways to get there.
Businesses measure metrics on a timely basis to analyze what’s working and what’s not within their company. Similarly, individuals can do the same to ensure they’re staying on track with their specific goals.
How can your goals be measurable, exactly?
Let’s take the above example: you need to develop more skill sets to achieve a higher position. To do this, you’ll likely need to attend training courses, receive certifications, or even have meetings with those in-the-know and gather information from them.
To set these measurable goals, you can draw up a list of things you need to do (being as specific as possible), and offer yourself a timeframe to do them. These metrics well ensure you’re staying on track. Cross them off or alter them as you go!
Another common problem when setting a goal is having high expectations. You may be thinking, “Wait, you’re telling me to have low expectations for myself?” Quite the opposite, in fact.
What having attainable goals means is having achievable goals. That means starting with small steps that are within your game-crushing skill set and building from there. If you set lofty goals and then don’t achieve them, you may feel discouraged to continue.
However, if you set smaller goals and face them head-on, accomplishing them one by one, you’ll feel confident and motivated in your ability to achieve what you set out to achieve! This process allows you to keep building on your successes, rather than giving up before you’ve really started.
How realistic are your goals based on your life, your work, your resources, and your other goals? Are your goals relevant to the times, to the life you want to lead, and the life you currently lead?
The realistic part of SMART goal-setting is being sure that you’re the right person to undergo these tasks. This point goes hand-in-hand with setting attainable goals. It merely means that to achieve the visions you have for yourself, it’s helpful first to understand if those goals are realistic to your lifestyle.
That can depend on many things, such as the amount of time you have to undertake a project, the area you live in, your resources, expenses, and more. Carefully and objectively take a look at your goals to ensure they’re not only achievable but relevant.
How can you stay motivated in your quest to crush your goals?
By making them time-bound and time-sensitive.
Having precise start and end dates allows you to feel that innate sense of urgency required to stay dedicated and focused. If you’ve got an open-ended timeframe, you may find days passing by without you doing clear work to move forward. After all, “sometime in the next ten years” feels so far away!
But before you know it, a decade has passed, and you’re still in the same position. Why? Because you didn’t take small steps regularly within a timeframe that you carefully laid out for yourself.
Part of staying on track is not just consistently checking in with your goals, but setting dates for yourself. Take out your calendar and provide yourself daily, weekly, or monthly reminders depending on what you want to accomplish. Honor your time-bound goals by using the above steps to stay within your dates.
The Benefits of a SMART Action Plan Are Clear
As you can see, SMART goals are goals meant to be crushed.
Using this blueprint, you should be able to develop a SMART action plan that allows you to succeed at anything—whether that’s business goals or personal development goals. In fact, the more areas in your life you can utilize this plan, the better!
Keep a consistent log of your efforts, so you know what’s working (and what’s not), and allow yourself the flexibility to alter when necessary. Being rigid isn’t the name of this game, but rather, adapting to changes as they come and confronting them head-on—with a well-thought-out plan.
For even more insight into SMART goals, click here. Feel free to scroll the rest of my blog for invaluable insight into optimizing your life.