Goals. Whether it was to make more sales or to lose that extra weight you put on from holiday ‘cookie’ season, everyone can relate to making a plan and wanting to achieve it. Setting goals and feeling a sense of achievement is inherent in human behavior, which is why you’ll hear the word constantly both in the workplace and in life in general.
So why do we need to accomplish goals? Achievement is needed in order to survive. An example of this can be taken from infants. Learning to walk is an achievement needed in order to become independent. Infants learn what is expected of them through observing others and then, when the time is right, they decide it’s time for them to learn. Then they try, fall, fall again, and fall some more. Then, after some bruises and close calls, they succeed. And once they’ve walked everywhere -some to places they shouldn’t be going- they start running. They keep building off of their last achievement and continue learning and growing.
But if you’re reading this, odds are you are no longer an infant. So why is it that it seems harder to achieve goals now, especially since we have become the independent beings that we looked up to as infants? How many times have you successfully made a goal yet failed to follow through to the end?
The fact of the matter is that most people these days actually accomplish very little. We live in a culture full of multi-tasking and taking on too many projects. Rarely do we pick one thing, focus all of our energy on it, and work at it until its end. In order to gain a sense of fulfillment, completion of goals is necessary. The answer to completing goals is by creating them through the SMART goal method. By following these steps, you will be well on your way to happiness and achievement in no time.
When creating your goal, the first thing you want to do is make sure it is one that is clear and specific. It should be something that can be understood by anyone who reads or asks about it. If not clear and specific, it is easy to lose motivation and focus. When creating your goal, it’s important that it can answer these 5 ‘W’ questions:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is the goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
After you have made your goal specific, the next step is to make it measurable. You want to have an idea of how you will be able to tell if you are progressing during the goal journey. If able to measure success throughout the process, not only will you be able to see where all of your hard work is going, but you’ll also be more motivated to complete it since your mind will think you are closer to the finish line.
In order to have a positive relationship with the goal you have set up, as well as the future goals you will set up, you want to make sure that your goal is achievable. At the same time, you want to make sure that your goal is also a challenge for yourself and something you really have to work for. If the goal is too easy to complete, personal growth and resiliency do not have the opportunity to increase. Goals are meant to challenge and progress. They are never meant to halt progress.
You want to make sure you are working toward your goal. However, you also need to consider the timing and where you are in your journey. In addition to this, you also want to look at who will benefit from it other than you. If others are involved, are you still the right person to be completing it? Could someone else get it done who has a better chance of completing it? Ultimately, when creating your goal, consider if it is worthwhile, if the timing is right, if you are the right person to complete it, or if the economy is right.
The last thing you want to consider when creating your goal is that you want to make it time-bound. What this means is that there is a timeline with your goal, including when you complete it. Ultimately what this does is that it keeps you on track but also prevents everyday tasks from taking priority over your journey to goal completion.
The beauty about the SMART goal is that its steps are general enough to be applied to any area of your life. If you follow these simple requirements when drafting your goal, you’ll find yourself on the road to achievement in no time.