How to set your goals for 2021 (Part 2)
1. Set SMART goals
You may have set goals in your past that were difficult to achieve because they were too vague, aggressive or poorly framed. Working toward a poorly-crafted goal can feel daunting and unachievable. Creating SMART goals can help solve these problems. Whether you’re setting personal or professional goals, using the SMART goal framework can establish a strong foundation for achieving success.
A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART technique. While there are plenty of variants, SMART usually stands for:
- Fully describe in concrete language the desired outcome.
- Describe what is to be accomplished.
- Make sure your goal is quantifiable or measureable in some way.
- Describe how you will know you’ve achieved your objective.
- Create stretch, yet achievable goals.
- To assess attainability, have a conversation about practicality as well as resources and support needed.
- Relevant to your or your group’s objectives and mission.
- What is the time frame for achieving the goal?
- Answer the question: “By when will I achieve the desired end-result?” (Note: Large goals may include milestone dates).
For example, instead of having “to sail around the world” as a goal, it’s more powerful to use the SMART goal “To have completed my trip around the world by December 31, 2027.” Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed beforehand!
Another example: I will earn a promotion to senior customer service representative by completing the required training modules in three months and applying for the role at the end of next quarter.
- Specific: The goal setter has clearly set the objective to be promoted to senior customer services rep.
- Measurable: Success can be measured by training module completion, filing the application and earning the promotion.
- Achievable: The goal setter will complete the training necessary to earn the promotion.
- Relevant: The goal setter is planning to apply for the promotion after finishing their training modules.
- Time-based: The goal setter has set a deadline to achieve their objective at the end of the following business quarter.
2. State each goal as a positive statement
Think approach vs avoidance! Express your goals positively – “Execute this technique well” is a much better goal than “Don’t make this stupid mistake.”
3. Set Priorities
When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
4. Keep operational goals small
Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward.
5. Set performance goals, not outcome goals
You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control! In business, these reasons could be bad business environments or unexpected effects of government policy.
In sport, they could include poor judging, bad weather, injury, or just plain bad luck.If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals, and draw satisfaction from them.
6. Set realistic goals
It’s important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (for example, employers, parents, media, or society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions.
It’s also possible to set goals that are too difficult because you might not appreciate either the obstacles in the way, or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance.
7. Celebrate small and big wins
When you’ve achieved a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you’ve made towards other goals.
If the goal was a significant one, reward yourself appropriately. All of this helps you build the self-confidence you deserve.