Do you remember your goals from last year? If so, did you achieve them? If you constantly find yourself failing at (or just plain forgetting) your goals, it’s time to do things differently. A new year always inspires new goals, however, it’s important to create goals that are actually attainable. Set yourself up for success by developing goals that push you to grow, but that you can also complete. Using the SMART goal method is a great way to develop goals that make sense and are attainable. This method provides criteria for creating goals and can be an anchor to success.
There are plenty of courses about the importance of SMART goals and how to create them, but for those with less time, here’s a quick overview followed by helpful links to help get you started.
As you create your goal, it’s important to be as specific as possible. What do you actually want to do? Why do you want to meet this goal? When do you want to have this completed by? These questions will guide you as you create your goal. Identify who is involved and what your end goal is. You’ll need all of this information to create an effective goal.
Determine what you’ll measure your goal by. For example, perhaps you want to increase follower count on social media. In this instance, the measurement would be by the followers. Choose a metric that can easily be tracked. This way, you’ll know if you’re making progress or missing the mark. Keep in mind that a metric is not the same as a goal; it is proof that you have reached your goal.
Goals can provide necessary motivation. However, it’s pointless to create a goal that is too far out of reach. As you develop your goal, make sure it’s something that you can do. Meaning, do you currently have the skills to reach your goal? If there’s training needed to reach your goal, perhaps that training can be your goal instead.
As you develop your goals, consider where it will fit into your overall plans. If your goal is for professional development, how does it factor into your company’s goals? Learning a skill that will benefit both you and your employer is always a bonus. Consider your own career goals and your company’s goals as you develop your SMART goals. What is the intersection?
Now it’s time to put the time limits on your goal. Deadlines are great motivators and cause people to jump into action. By making your goal time bound, this makes it easier to block out and devote time to pursuing your goal. For example: if you know you want to achieve your goal before August, be realistic about how much time you can devote to reaching your goal AND how much time it will take for you to actually achieve it.
When creating your goals, the purpose is to actually accomplish them. Once you’ve created your goals, it’s important to keep them front of mind. Put your goals somewhere you can see them often and easily. Vision boards have been all the rage for a reason: keeping tangible and highly visible images in front of you makes it far easier to recall what they show, and to keep you focused. No one knows what the future will bring, but preparation will never hurt.
If you’re a more visual person, here’s a great template to write out your goals. Plus, HubSpot is a great resource for do’s and don’ts of goal setting. Happy goal setting!