Smart goal setting. Hmm… Is there really such a thing? Of course there is! Don’t you wonder what successful people are doing differently than those people who aren’t successful? Even if top achievers don’t realize it, they are applying the principles of smart goal setting almost all the time.
I know you’ve heard of the smart goal acronym probably many times before, but I don’t want you to read through this section unconsciously, like a laundry list. I believe people often do this because they aren’t satisfied or excited by what they read.
My goal is to explain smart goal setting on a new level – one that will increase your self-awareness and motivation!
Please Don’t take Smart Goal Setting for granted!
Do you want to know one principle or way of thinking that really separates successful people from nonsuccessful people? People of the latter take well known information on how to set goals for granted.
They’ve heard of the steps for goal setting, but they appear to be too simple, and so they avoid using those principles. Don’t let this happen to you! Instead of examining what advice they are “living” and incorporating into their lives – they are instead asking, “Show me something new! I want to learn something different”.
I once heard that success and achievement is the result of mastering the basics. So, as you read on, ask yourself if you are truly applying these principles in your life! Ready to learn about smart goals?
Smart goal setting means getting Specific!
What does this really mean to you? It means that you need to get really clear on what you want. How are you supposed to achieve a dream, if you don’t even have a dream? How are you supposed to be happy if you don’t know what makes you feel good? Ok, this is pretty ‘big picture’ thinking so far. Let me give a few more concrete examples so that you know what I’m really talking about.
Think about any big purchase that you’ve made in your past. Have you bought a house, a car, a big screen television, or a computer? Before you went out to buy this merchandise, what did you need to do first? You had to decide on exactly the type of ‘model’ that you wanted!
Think about the people you know that are really into buying cars. They are totally passionate about them, and they never stop talking, thinking or looking at them online. How much total time do you think they spend thinking about their goal? Some people spend hours every week browsing the models online, finding quotes, and going to dealerships to view the different cars.
“So what?”, you are thinking… Well, the point here is, if a person will spend many, many hours on a goal such as finding the right car to buy, then why shouldn’t a person spend this much time and energy getting clear on what they want in the other areas of their life? Does this make sense?
I can think of many times where I’ve spent hours and hours shopping simply for a particular piece of clothing. For instance, jeans are always hard for me to find! I don’t even want to think about how many hours I’ve spent on finding the right pair.
So, for me, it is motivating to ask myself, “Why wouldn’t I put the same amount of time into writing smart goals that are specific and clear?
In order to motivate yourself on creating specific and smart goals, I suggest you examine how much time you spend engaging in activities that really don’t give you a great return on your investment of time.
For instance, I must spend 4 hours every week blowdrying my hair. Perhaps you spend 6 hours watching reality television shows. Or, maybe you spend 3 hours every week (or god forbid – even more!) cleaning your house, or gossiping on the phone to people you don’t really care much about. If you are a student perhaps you spend 6 hours in a class every week that you don’t even care about.
You get my point! simply examine where and what you spend time on that gives you little in return. Then ask yourself – Why wouldn’t I spent time learning how to set and achieve smart goals?
Smart goal setting also requires that you think big!! For instance, let’s say your goal is to increase your income to $100,000 per year. Now, if that’s what you really want, that is fine, however, ask yourself if that truly is, specifically what you really want!? Does $100,000 per year get you really motivated? Just remember, it will take just as much energy to increase your income to $100,000 as it will to increase your income to $500,000 per year.
Every goal, whether it be a moderate size goal, or large goal requires time, energy and focus. So, if you are going to work on achieving any goal, make it a goal that is big, and that really inspires you!
Here is another example along this line. In building this website, I was told that it takes just as much energy to build a bad website, as it takes to build a successful website, so why not decide to create a goal that, for the same amount of energy will give me a successful product?
Another good analogy that hits on the point I’m trying to make is – I often hear people complain about how their age prevents them from going back to school.
“I’m 50 years old! If I go back to school now, I’m going to be 55 years old by the time I complete my goal!” The alternative way this person needs to think is, “Regardless of what I do, the time is going to arrive when I turn 55 years old, so why not turn 55 years old WITH a degree as opposed to WITHOUT a degree?!”
My final point is – if you are using smart goal setting – you might as well do it right! Be specific, and get really clear on what you want. Your smart goal itself should motivate and inspire you. Forget the stupid advice given on smart goal setting that you need to be realistic.
The objective, goal or target itself does not need to be realistic. I can’t stand when I hear this bad advice! Only your action steps need to be broke down into realistic steps. But, in general, smart goal setting is about thinking big and then having the guts to get specific and to choose an aim that is worth your time and energy!
Smart Goal Setting always motivates you!!!
Part of writing smart goals, is also writing down what will motivate you to achieve those goals! For instance, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, then you must create a list of all the positive benefits you will have if you do actually lose 10 pounds.
Do you do this on a regular basis? Have you ever taken the time to write out your list of reasons? I’m guessing that about only 3% of the population does this! If you can get in the habit of doing this, you will literally see yourself reaching higher and higher levels of success.
When you watch an informercial/commercial, or the shopping channel – what do you notice? They always talk about what’s in it for YOU! They have to highlight all the benefits, all the positive consequences you will experience as a result of purchasing their product!
Viewers may know that they should buy the exercise equipment being advertised, but they won’t do it unless they have a bunch of reasons that motivate them into using actually using that equipment.
The second thing you need to motivate yourself, is to make a list of the negative consequences or all of the pain you will experience if you don’t achieve your goal! Just think, how awful will you feel if you don’t commit to making this smart goal a reality?
Remember, as Anthony Robbins has popularized, people want to move toward pleausre, and move away from pain. So, the more you understand the benefits of achieving your goal, and the negative consequences of not achieving your goal, – the more persistent and motivated you will be at achieving your goal! Does that make sense?
This concept of self-motivation alone can work wonders. But it will only work if you use it! Remember knowledge alone is not power – it is only potential power if you act on that knowledge! If you only take one thing away from smart goal setting – let it be this!
Smart Goal Setting means consistently taking action!
Smart goal setting is all about taking massive action. For some people, the word ‘action’ itself is overwhelming. People feel like it is a major task to take action, or to carry out tasks. Well, there are many different ways to think about taking action. First of all, taking action does not need to feel uncomfortable.
Taking action is all about forming the necessary habits, patterns of behaving and thinking, routines, and systems that will set you up for success. The achievement of every goal boils down to being able to commit to a few key habits on a consistent basis. This is what leads to big accomplishments!
No matter what goals you are struggling with, ask yourself what activities you can systematize or make automatic. What habits are easy for you to start forming in your life, and easy for you to stick to? Remember, forming habits are like building muscles. Over time, you strengthen your habits just as you strengthen your muscles, and working toward your smart goal gets a lot easier!
If you are not getting closer to achieving the major goals in each area of your life, then you should begin to examine what habits you have in place on a regular basis that are moving you toward that goal. The answer is probably, none. Or your actions are too inconsistent. Find a system that you can stick to!
Smart Goal Setting means realistic action steps
Remember how I said that creating a bunch of realistic goals is a bunch of B.S.? Smart goal setting is all about thinking big! However, what makes smart goal setting ‘smart’, is that you have to come up with realistic action steps.
For instance, if your goal is to write a 500 page fiction novel, and you work a fulltime job and have children, then you are going to need a feasible plan of actions to attain your goal, – an action plan that you can follow through with.
You need to ask yourself, “realistically, what am I willing to do each week to achieve my goal?” If you work until 5pm each day, how much time in the evenings can you spend writing? How many days a week can you do this?
Basically, you want to set yourself up for success, by ensuring that your actions can be turned into solid, somewhat predictable routines, habits, systems or patterns of behaving that you can actually stick to, and follow through with.
It is not the big goal that people find overwhelming. Instead, it is their plan of what they have to do in order to achieve that result. Some people’s expectations of themselves are so great that they never get started with an action plan to accomplish their goals. This is so unfortunate.
Remember, with each action you take, you learn and accomplish more and more. You build momentum, and everything becomes easier!
Smart Goal Setting puts a Time or Date on your Goal!
I know, I know, – this sounds like such boring advice so much that I hate to repeat it. What might be the value in putting a deadline on your smart goals?
First of all, it creates a sense of urgency. Secondly, it gives you a big picture for what actions you need to start working on now, and how much time you need to invest in those actions to make your goal a reality.
If you want to be financially free in a year from now, then, it helps to create a picture for what you’ll need to do in the mean time. You might start to realize that you need to start saving 20% of your paycheck now, as opposed to waiting two months from now.
You might realize that you need to take courses on options trading. You might realize you’ll need to run a business part-time in addition to your regular job if you have one. In summary then, it is important to use deadlines, to help you plan what needs to be done during your days, weeks, and months.
Here is some more motivation for you to demonstrate this point. Remember when you were a student? You were always given deadlines weren’t you? And was it effective? Did you usually get the work done that needed to be done? You bet you did! Maybe it wasn’t quite perfect, but it was good enough to move you on to your next grade or level of education.
So, if you participate in other people’s deadlines, and if you were productive to meet other people’s goals, than why would you not give the same gift to yourself? Why would you not hold yourself up to the same high standards?
There! Now you have some of the basics on smart goal setting. Remember, these points are only a few of the main points. This is not meant to be a fully comprehensive list of what you need to do in order to achieve your smart goals.
When it comes to personal goal setting and achievement motivation, do you have a burning desire to understand how to achieve your goals? Are you eager to ensure that you follow through with those goals?
If you are like me, and are the type of person who is passionate about personal achievement and motivation then you’ll want to try my free online goal setting program. Try the most comprehensive and free, online goal-setting and motivation program on the internet! Learn the principles that all successful people need to apply, today!
As early as grade 10, I had encountered a personal goal setting audio program, – Anthony Robbins’ 30 Days to Personal Power.
I can still remember this moment – I felt an explosion of hope and positive energy grow within me. This instance led me to read hundreds of books and listen to many audio programs on personal goal setting and human achievement.
So, as a result, I became sold on the idea that I had the potential to be, do, and have whatever I wanted in life. I felt so grateful – as if I’d encountered a magic genie, a money tree, or the secret answers to personal success (I still feel this way about personal growth seminars, audio programs and books by the way!!).
The only problem however, was that sometimes weeks, months, and even years would go by in my life, without me having committed to the personal goals that I had originally set for myself I was pretty sure that I knew how to set goals.
I had so many questions running through my mind – Was I not organized? Was I not disciplined enough? How did I forget about some of my goals? Why didn’t I stick to my action plan? Grrrr! I’m sure you can relate to some of these experiences as well!
I realized early in life that setting goals and writing down objectives is not enough. In fact, once you learn how to set smart goals, the easiest part is over! The second, and more difficult task, is learning how to follow through with those goals.