It’s that time of year again, when we set ambitious goals and somehow manage to lose sight of them by the end of February.
Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.
There are many reasons why so many of us get derailed when setting goals. Your goals may be unrealistic. They may be too vague. They may be too broad.
The good news is, there is a proven way to set goals that count. Yes, it is possible to establish goals that you can achieve.
It all comes down to being SMART.
The SMART system of goal setting ensures your goals are achievable and can be met. Using this system you can ensure your goals are:
Specific – not too vague, not too broad, just right
Measurable – progress can be measured as you move through the year
Achievable – attainable goals that keep you motivated
Relevant – ensuring goals are relevant to your overall aim
Time Based – having a timeframe to work towards to keep up accountability
Using the SMART system will help you set goals that count in 2019 – here’s how.
It’s easy to set ambitious goals, focusing on the big picture stuff. But it’s much harder to step back and set more specific goals, to ensure they can be achieved. This lies at the heart of the first step in the SMART goal setting process – making sure your goals are specific.
For instance, one of your goals for 2019 might be to get that longed for promotion. The SMART approach to this goal would be to break it down further and specify the following:
- which area of the business you’d like to be promoted into?
- what skills need to be developed to be competitive in a selection process?
- which courses do you need to complete to gain these skills?
- how many job applications do you expect to submit each month to meet this goal?
Instead of making your goal too broad or vague, make it as specific as possible and break it down into its component tasks to ensure the best chance of success.
Most of us fail when it comes to setting goals as we don’t review progress or identify measures for success. We make the goal and hope for the best. The second step in making SMART goals is to ensure your goal is measurable – how are you going to know if you are on track to succeed?
Again, let’s look at the example goal of getting a promotion. How do we measure this goal? The best way to do this is to apply measures of success to each of the sub goals. So, for example, you could check in each month to measure the number of applications submitted. You could self-assess required competency vs attained skills. You could also look at the training and courses you’ve completed. Make sure you regularly review and measure progress.
If your goal is too ambitious, you’re setting yourself up for failure from the start. Dreaming big is great but not if you have little chance of making your dream a reality. It won’t be long until you run out of motivation and find yourself giving up too easily. It’s vital your goal is attainable, realistic and achievable.
For example, the goal of getting a promotion may not be achievable if there is no realistic prospect of promotion in your organisation. It may also be unrealistic if it’s in an ultra-competitive area or if it requires years of training and experience. Ensure your goal can be achieved, to keep up motivation, accountability and the desire to succeed.
There’s no point setting a goal if it’s not relevant to your career path or to your overall aims. SMART goals are meant to fit in with your big picture plans and are designed to guide you in the right direction. It’s important your goal remains relevant, relatable and reasonable, otherwise it won’t be something you’ll want to work towards.
In our example scenario of setting the goal of getting a promotion, it’s important that this goal is relevant to the bigger picture. You’ll work harder to seek promotion in areas of interest or passion, giving you the motivation and drive to keep going. This drive may be lacking if your only reason to seek promotion is for the pay rise or the prestige.
Setting a timeframe for your goal is one of the most powerful ways to achieve success. Often, we set goals, with no specific timeframes, which means there’s no impetus to move forward and no sense of urgency. Making your goal time based increases your chances of success and gets you motivated to keep going.
Using our promotion scenario, giving the goal a timeframe will encourage you to take action. If you are working towards achieving a promotion by the end of the year, you’ll have more impetus to complete the training required early on so you can acquire the skills needed to submit applications. Without a set timeframe, you’ll have less reason to prioritise training and may never reach your goal. Setting time frames for your goals will help make them count in 2019.
Do you need more support in setting goals that count in 2019? Contact the team at Hunterlink to see how we can help you and your workplace succeed this year.