Goals are contagious. Once you achieve one, you can’t wait to get to the next one.
After a while, you gain extra momentum and confidence, and you start feeling like you have some sort of superpower.
Goal setting is like having a Sat Nav for the future: it helps you get closer and closer to the destination you chose, and it tells you when it’s time to turn right or left on the way.
If you’re not specific or descriptive, you will end up at the wrong destination, with the wrong passengers, driving someone else’s car, at the wrong time.
That’s why I put together a free smart goals worksheet for you to finally set clear goals for your lifestyle and your business following a clear and proven template.
When to set smart goals
Whenever you set out to accomplish something new, from doubling your sales to upgrading your fitness, you should take the time to write down a clear goal.
Whether it’s a business or a lifestyle goal, not being specific or descriptive enough will lead you astray, or set you up for disappointment once you get there: this is like a marksman getting the best technique and equipment, but forgetting to decide which target to aim at.
The right goals allow you to:
- Have a clear direction and keep it top of mind (and avoid procrastination)
- Have different people working together on a shared mission
- Know what to say no to, so you can use resources towards what really matters
- Measure and see progress so you can adjust, celebrate, and learn
Here’s where SMART principles come in handy. They provide a framework to make sure you give your goals the right structure to allow you to be successful.
The SMART principles
Here’s the definition of what the letters SMART stand for:
Specific: your goals should tell you exactly what you want to accomplish, instead of being based on general statements that can be open to interpretation (like, “feel happy”).
Measurable: you can measure progress (and adjust your plan) as you get closer to your goal, instead of having to wait for the final outcome to get feedback eventually.
Assignable: who is the person responsible for the success or failure of the goal?
This is very empowering, as it makes you focus on the variables you can influence.
Realistic: depending on your current situation, your available resources (including time), and how important this is for you, you’ll be able to gauge whether this is a realistic goal.
Time-bound: How much time are you giving yourself? Be precise, as this will allow you to measure whether you are moving in the right direction (if at all).
You can download your free goal planner to create solid life and business objectives here.
The included goal setting worksheet and audio guide will lead you through the process, so you can start to plan and work on great goals that support you.
Now let’s have a look at how to put these 5 principles into practice.
⚠ the example section goes beyond the 500 words guarantee
Examples of smart goals
Let’s use an example. I’m going to pick something from a list of the most common New Year’s Resolutions (I’m mean like that). To better understand how to apply the 5 principles and set great goals you can accomplish, let’s go through a few examples.
Example #1: Lose weight.
specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-bound)
This goal doesn’t tell you what kind of weight you want to lose, how much, how quickly, and it doesn’t even make it clear who should take action. This is a very disempowering goal, as you won’t be able to measure progress, do better, and know whether things are working or not. Would a haircut be enough to lose weight? What about 10 kilos (20lb) over 10 years?
I have lost 2 kilos (of body fat) by 30th July.
Notice how much more empowering this goal is.
Specific: it gives clarity on how much body fat you should lose.
Measurable: you must lose 2kg to succeed, so you can measure your progress and success objectively (and adjust).
Assignable: it’s clear that you must take action.
Realistic: it’s realistic (unless you’re reading this in late July).
Time-bound: the timeline is clear, allowing you to know whether you’re progressing fast enough and…whether you got there in the end.
Example #2: More me time.
specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-bound)
How much is more? Would one minute a day be enough? One hour?
This goal leaves you chasing your own tail, and feeling frustrated even when you accomplish it, because it’s not measurable and it’s based on a feeling (that will likely change and adapt).
Secondly, what will you do with that me time? If you had 2 hours a day and used them to play with your phone or stare at the ceiling, would you feel satisfied?
This lack of purpose and specificity is also why it’s so difficult to measure it.
I spend half an hour a day sketching (and I have kept it up for a whole week) by the end of September.
This phrasing gives you much more clarity and direction.
Specific: it tells you exactly what “me time” is to you, and how much time is needed.
Measurable: you must keep up a weekly streak of one hour a day of sketching.
This way, you’ll know whether you got there, but also it will allow you to carve out that time gradually, starting from 10 minutes a day and increasing as the momentum picks up.
Assignable: guess who’s going to sketch?
Realistic: half an hour is totally realistic if you give yourself enough time to build it gradually.
Time-bound: the working make it clear this is an ongoing lifestyle goal, but by specifying when the ritual needs to be created by (the end of September) it makes it time-bound.
Example #3: 5x the company’s sales this year.
assignable, realistic, time-bound)
This goal is specific, telling you to focus on sales (not profit, launches or any other metric), and by how much to increase them by, which also makes it measurable.
It’s also time-bound, specifying when it needs to be accomplished by.
This goal could be even more specific by choosing one or more product categories.
It’s also not assignable since no one is really responsible for making it happen. Is this on one person? On the whole team? The sales department? Should each have a separate goal that contributes towards the larger company goal?
Lastly, depending on the current situation and timeline, increasing sales by five times may not be realistic. Especially if you’re in November.
(As a team) we have 5x’d sales of recurring services within 12 months from [today].
This wording is much more specific and assignable, and ideally, it would be paired with team or individual goals that specify which target and action will contribute to the company’s overarching goal.
Specific: it tells you exactly what needs to happen, even which kind of services to focus on.
Measurable: it is clearly measurable, and the company can see whether they’re getting closer or not. They could also track individual actions to see the effect on the goal way before the timeline is approaching.
Assignable: it specifies it’s a company goal, so each person and department can choose a different set of actions that will get the company closer to the objective.
Realistic: the goal is realistic compared to today’s situation.
Time-bound: it needs to happen 12 months from the starting date.
Achieve your own smart goals
The way you phrase your goals determines your chances of success, but also whether it will be fun or frustrating to get there: smart goals will give you a clear direction to work towards, a way to measure your actions, and a timeline to keep you on your toes.
Badly worded goals could even lead you astray towards something you did not want or keep you and your business stuck in a loop of frustration.
To help you set huge goals you can crush, I create a free template and worksheet you can download and use every time you want to set new personal and team goals. Click here to receive in your inbox and start smashing your goals from today.
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