We all have dreams, and want to achieve a lot of things in our lives. We set New Year resolutions, plan to lose weight, want to get rich, learn new skills, quit bad
habits, find the right partner, build a relationship, setup up additional income streams… and yet, many months and years can pass, and nothing much may be achieved. Sometimes we thing that goal setting does not work, and out of any options, we simply give up setting any goals.
Yet, We often see people around us with less money, less time, and far less resources than us, getting things done, achieving their goals and getting ahead. How are they getting ahead despite so many road blocks?
What are you really missing?
Is there a secret sauce to success, to achieving goals?
Yes, Success often leaves a lot of clues. And one of the primary clue is Goal Setting.
Goal setting does work!
You can achieve your dreams and goals, if you follow these simple tips and apply them in your life. Get started with the right steps, and see the difference for yourself.
But first, understand what you are not doing correctly, which is part of the reason you are not achieving the goals & results that you want…
Problem With Goal Setting
One of the main reasons people don’t achieve their goals is that the goals they set are too generic – like I want to get rich, or I want to have 6 pack abs, or I want to lose weight this year.
Our brain is a computer that keeps seeking the things we desire, and generates ideas to get to them. When the brain sees a generic goal like I want to get rich, it is not able to define “rich”.
What exactly is rich? How much is rich? By when do you want to get rich?
So the brain is unable to find any specific answers. And when it does not find any answers, we get de-motivated by the whole “goal setting” thing. Such generic goals do not activate the brain to help us in achieving these goals.
The Solution – Setting SMART Goals.
Set SMART Goals
One of the first things we need to do with our goals is to make them S.M.A.R.T. This is an acronym:
- Time Bound
Set a Specific Goal:
You give a clear signal to your brain when you set a clear and specific goal. Rather than “I want to get rich“, it is better to set a goal of “I will start a blog / website / blog-shop and sell hand made glass paintings”.
Now there is a specific objective – and you can start to think, plan and work on the “how to setup a website“, “make the glass paintings“, and “setup an online shop to sell the paintings“. These actions take you further to take the concrete steps in achieving your goal of “getting rich“.
Set a Measurable Goal:
To make it more specific, give you more motivation, and get your brain to start thinking creatively, you need to make the goal measurable. It could be as simple as “I will make 3 painting each week and will get my blog/shop launched in a month.”
This way we add some measurement criteria. Human mind works on clear goals. I have to write such blog posts all the time for my various blogs and businesses. So rather than saying “I will write an article“, I often set a goal of “I will write a 500 word self-help article today“.
This gives clarity, and makes it much easier to finish it, since I know I only need to churn about 500 words. At this stage, this article is already over 580 words, so I have met my objective for today 🙂
Set an Actionable Goal:
You may not have realized, but our goal is already specific, measurable and in the process, we have put some action that we need to take in to our goal. But we can make it better by saying something like:
“I will make 3 paintings each week, and will launch my blog/shop within 30 days from today. Upon launch, I will have at least 15 hand made paintings. I will then promote my blog through Facebook, Instagram, word-of-mouth, and offer to keep my glass paintings on display at local restaurants.”
An actionable goal is easy to achieve because you and your brain both know what is to be done. It is not some abstract, amorphous thing, but rather concrete, doable, and something that will motivate you to take action, do something about it, and get started by taking the first step toward achieving your goals.
Set a Realistic Goal:
In the beginning, we may get too ambitious and set a very high goal. Nothing wrong in setting high goals, but if you don’t achieve them, you start to feel guilty, and start to find excuses on why you did not achieve the goal.
Rather than focusing on the actions that will help you to achieve the goals, we start to distance ourselves from the goal. To avoid this, we need to make sure that our goal is realistic.
For example, if you set a goal to “double your salary in 6 months”, it may be quite a stretch goal. I won’t say it is not possible, but if you haven’t been able to double your salary in the past 5 years, it is less likely to happen in the next 6 months. If every glass painting takes 3-4 days to make, you may not be able to finish 3 paintings each week.
So evaluate for yourself, and then set a realistic goal that can be achieved.
Some people also attach Relevant as a meaning for the R in SMART goals. By relevant, it means that the goal must be relevant to you, your desires, and your vision. You could say that “Making and selling my glass paintings will give me more confidence, add additional revenue stream to my income, and help me take better care of my family.”
This relevance brings in some accountability to your vision, your long term objectives. It will now provide you with a drive, a relevance. You are not doing the actions just like that. It is to “support your family in a better way“… a key driver to your success in achieving your goals.
Set a Time Bound Goal:
A time bound goal bring in a sense of urgency, a need to finish something by. Otherwise it is more of a wish only. When you put a clear time line to achieve your goals, you are now giving your brain instructions to find ways to get the actions completed by a specific time. Without a time line, we all tend to procrastinate. But with a time line, things happen quickly.
My editor can give me a week to write an article, and I will not write it for 6 days… the idea is not coming, the mood is not right, I need coffee to get started are all excuses I have used in the past. But when the editor calls on the 6th day, and remind me that he is expecting the article in less than 24 hours, I better get started pronto… and most of the time, the article is done in the last 3-4 hours of the deadline.
Your goal could be to “I will make 3 paintings each week, and will launch my blog/shop within 30 days from today. Upon launch, I will have at least 15 hand made paintings. I will then promote my blog through Facebook, Instagram, word-of-mouth, and offer to keep my glass paintings on display at local restaurants. I strive to get at least 5 orders each day, and have my work displayed in 10 restaurants by the end of the quarter. Making and selling my glass paintings will give me more confidence, add an extra revenue stream to my income, and help me take better care of my family.”
Don’t be afraid of writing a long winded goal statement. It is better to have a long statement that has met the test of SMART, rather than a short, generic statement that is more of a wish.
History has shown that the people who set about setting Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Relevant and Time Bound goals have achieved them atleast 84% more than just simple, generic goals. You can see that it increases your chances of achieving your goals, your dreams, and live a life you want!
- Write down your SMART goals.
- Share Your SMART Goals here in the comments. People who share their goals openly are more likely to achieve them. So don’t be shy. Simply type a comment below and share your goals. If you are really shy, you could simply email them to me, and add some accountability to your goals.
If you think you won’t have the time to do this, you can follow the Pomodoro technique I wrote about (step 3 of Work-Life Balance), which has helped me in getting a lot of things done in a short time of less than 30 minutes.
Attend Goal Setting Workshops
For more tips on how to achieve your goals, you can attend a 1 day workshop on Goal Setting, with your fellow colleagues, and learn practical tips on how to set and achieve your goals easily & quickly. Contact +65-6250-3575 or write to us.
Written by: Vinai Prakash
This article is written by Vinai, founder and principal trainer at SoftSkills.SG. He has trained hundreds of companies across 23 countries in achieving their goals, improving their productivity, getting more done and achieving balance in their lives. Vinai lives in Singapore.