Whenever we start out with a new goal or a new project we are filled with enthusiasm and energy but why is it that so few people actually achieve and accomplish their goals?
The answer has little to do with the people making the goals and the actual objectives themselves and has everything to do with the way people create their goals.
The key to creating a successful goal is to use the SMART Principle when you set out make your plans. There is much debate and many versions of what the SMART Principle terms are; in fact it has been tweaked and modified in many ways depending on the group it is being presented too. Below is a listing of my personal version of the SMART or as some use the SMARTER Principle along with all the other alternative word options I was able to find in my research.
|S||SPECIFIC||Significant, Stretching, Simple|
|M||MEASURABLE||Meaningful, Motivational, Manageable|
|A||ACTIONABLE||Attainable Appropriate, Achievable, Agreed, Assignable, Ambitious, Aligned, Aspirational|
|R||RESOURCED||Relevant, Realistic, Resonant|
|T||TIMELY||Time-oriented, Time framed, Timed, Time-based, Timeboxed, Time-bound, Time-Specific, Timetabled, Time limited, Trackable, Tangible|
|E||ETHICAL||Evaluate, Excitable, Enjoyable, Engaging, Ecological|
|R||REWARDING||Reevaluate, Rewarded, Reassess, Revisit, Recordable, Rewarding, Reaching|
Which of these word choices do you relate most with? What are your SMART choices?
Using my version as a guide these are the essential components of what make up a great plan for success.
The first thing you need to do when you are looking to create a goal or a plan is to whittle it down to its core components and become as specific as possible when defining what it is you want to achieve. How can you ever know if you succeeded if your goal is some vague hope or ideal? Your vision for achieving success must be as clear as crisp cool mountain spring water and it has to be as focused as a laser.
There’s an old Peter Drucker quote that goes: “What gets measured gets managed.” The only way to manage and control a successful outcome is to measure your progress. Your goal need to be organized into logically ordered parts, essentially split it into baby steps. The key here is to set things up so they can be tracked and watched on a timetable or progression chart. You want to be able to know how far along you are in achieving your goal, you have to have a metric to measure your success.
This comes down to the syntax and wording you use when you create your goal. In step one you already focused in on very specific achievements then in step two you broke this specific goal down into bite sized tasks. Now you need to take this information and begin to write out your goal in action verb styled form. It needs to be written up as a task that can be acted upon. As an example you wouldn’t just write “market” if you needed to go to the store but rather “go to market and buy milk.” That’s something you can actually take action upon and do.
Anything you want to achieve will need to have the appropriate resources, tools, and support easily available so you can accomplish your task. This can take many forms such as if you are trying to eat healthier it means stocking your house with lots of fruits, veggies and whole foods instead of candy and junk food. If you wanted to exercise more it would mean making sure your workout clothes are with you when you need them, your running shoes are in good shape, maybe having a workout buddy or signing up for a gym membership. Either way in any case no person is an island and we all aren’t John Wayne; you are going to need help achieving your goal and this step is to make sure you have everything ready to ensure success.
If you want to always create successful plans then you need to put a little pressure on yourself and give yourself due date. There has to be a due by time on everything you want to achieve or else other things will always get in the way and you will keep putting off until tomorrow.
In order to live a rewarding and fulfilling life you need to make sure that your goals and objectives are positive and you are striving to achieve things that benefit the greater good. You need to make sure that the goal you want to reach is in line with your moral code and that your intentions are positive. When I want to achieve something I always like to look and make sure that what I want not only benefits me but also in some way helps others or provides service for others.
I tie this in with the earlier point that striving to achieve positive and worthwhile goals is the definition of success and is therefore a rewarding experience. In addition to that when you have made a great achievement it feels great, it’s an uplifting experience. You should relish those moments and celebrate your achievements when you succeed. On that same note tying in with the Measurable step you should reward and celebrate the micro-victories you get along the path to your end goal. Trust me when I tell you that when you do this you re-energize and re-motivate yourself to achieving what you set out to accomplish in the beginning.
That’s how I use the SMART Principle to help make sure that my plans are able to come to a successful fruition. Hopefully you can use it to help you achieve all you want out of life.
Have you used the SMART Principle before? Has it helped you?