I love the new year! I am such a mega fan of planning out what I will do and how I will do it and I get so pumped up for what is to come! It's so strange what a new year can give you - it's like a breath of fresh air, a new start. And I mean, I know there's nothing that's really changed since last year, but there's an energy at the turn of the new year that's infectious.
That energy psychs me up and inspires me. I feel my creativity peaking and I know it's because as the new year arrives, we as a collective society give one another permission to start again, start over, restart or simply.. start.
So don't let this pass you by! Setting goals in January might be clique, but it's also a great time to go through this process! Capitalise on the energy around you!
But word of warning, it's also a time when you can set goals that never eventuate. Fast forward to October 2017 and those goals often are not realised! And I think there's a multitude of reasons why this might happen: we run out of resources, our priorities shift, family trauma, new opportunities or we just plain-old lose steam and stop. But more often than not, goals are not ever realised because they are not S.M.A.R.T.
You might be thinking, "wait up, my goals are plenty smart!" and I am sure they are, but are they S.M.A.R.T. smart? Let me explain.
S - SPECIFIC
When you are setting your goals, you need to be ultra specific. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to dominate when it comes to goal setting. So instead of saying "I want to grow my email list", specify exactly how much you want to grow your email list and by what means you will do it.
So being specific isn't just about the goal itself, it's also about the strategy behind making it happen. Being clear about how you'll reach your goals gives you an instant set of action items to follow making it much easier for you to make it happen!
M - MEASURABLE
Once you know what your goal is, it's important to set parameters around the goal that allow you to measure your progress.
The first thing people think of when they hear the term 'measurability' is numbers, and numbers may be the way in which you measure this goal. It might be the number of email subscribers or the open and click through rates in the emails you send to that list that make this goal measurable to you. But measurability may come in other forms. It might be the feedback that you get from your list and their answers to the questions you pose. Depending on the goal, it might be more personal, like shifts in your own mindset. Regardless of the goal type, they must be measurable for you to truly achieve.
A - ACHIEVABLE
And speaking of achieving, the very next component of a goal to access is it's achievability. No one likes being set up for failure. Yet, it's something we seem to do to ourselves over and over again. It's not pleasant, it's not fun and ultimately, it makes us feel like a failure. Eww.
So when setting goals, ensuring that what you are focusing your precious time and energy on is actually achievable is vital in making it happen. There's a few additional steps inside this one that you can consider when assessing achievability.
- How much time and money will this goal require? You goal may not cost huge amounts of money, but it's likely to cost you time and some people would argue that more valuable!
- What skills and knowledge will you need to pull this off and how will you acquire that? Perhaps that means taking some classes or an online course.
- Who will you need help from to realise this goal? You might be able to make it happen yourself, but sometimes we need help! Just double check that those people can in fact help you!
This is the first point where you may feel like this goal is not realistic. It's ok! It doesn't mean you can't do it, it might just require you to go back to the start and adjust slightly or might mean you need to postpone the goal and work on another goal that will support this one in the future.
R - RELEVANT
Another point where you may get held up is right here: relevance. To be honest, I would move this one just to just after S - Specific, however it doesn't fit the pretty S.M.A.R.T. acronym, so we have to leave it here!
Accessing the relevance of this goal is something that can be daunting and simultaneously clarifying. Placing your goal alongside your overall missions and values (what you are truly setting out to achieve, wether it's personal, business or blog related or otherwise) can quickly show you if you are focusing on a goal that's 'on target' or one that is distracting you from what you really what to do and the life you want to create for yourself.
Don't get me wrong, not all goals that you have need to drive you forward for business success! You are most certainly allowed to have goals that are personal too! In fact, that's healthy! But being clear on your missions both personally and professionally before you start the S.M.A.R.T. goal process is handy and will keep you on track for all kinds of success!
T - TIMELY
And lastly, a S.M.A.R.T. goal is timely. This means that there is a start and an end date. There's a time-based target. So in the case of our email list, we may set a end date of June 2017. This makes it very clear how long we have to achieve this goal.
Goals that are left open ended are far more likely to fail or stop being relevant to you and your mission. They drag, get boring or become out-dated and all of a sudden, all that work you've done is wasted.
So there you have it! The full S.M.A.R.T. goals framework. To make it easier for you to assess your goals against this criteria, I have created a free S.M.A.R.T. goal planning worksheet. Download it once and print as many as you need for your goals, both personal and professional!
I'd love to know what your S.M.A.R.T. goals are! Leave them in the comments along with your website URL!