Smart Goal Setting
How are those New Year goals coming?

Answer these questions to set—or reset—yourself up for success.

It’s hard to start a new year without thinking about how to make this the year you accomplish whatever x, y, or z goal that’s meaningful to you. Whether you want to lose, learn, lead, visit, find, stop, start, organize, fix—any of a thousand things—the way to make a change and make it stick is to set, commit to, and relentlessly work to achieve goals that are both meaningful and measurable.

Here are some best practices to make this happen.

The path to success:

First and foremost, you need to set clear goals so you can easily understand why this goal is meaningful to you, determine a plan to reach your goal, gauge progress, and ultimately determine whether you’ve succeeded.

Set your goal:

Make sure you clearly define success in a way that you can say “I passed” or “I failed.” That means not saying something vague like, “I want to organize my life.” Really think about what that organized life would look like to you. Maybe it’s having time to do what you want to do—run or read or rest. Maybe it’s being able to find things easily when you need them. Maybe it’s keeping on top of spending, activities, responsibilities. Whatever the goal is, make sure it’s clear and pass/fail measurable.

Create a SMART plan:

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based. The SMART planning process will help you ask and answer the key questions to determine your action plan.

Specific–What will I achieve?

Measurable–How will I define success, progress,

Attainable– What actions and activities do I need to do on a daily and weekly basis to reach my goal?

Relevant–Why is this meaningful to me?

Time-based–What’s the timeline for achieving my goal? How much time will I have to set aside to work toward my goals?

The SMART planning process should show you:

  • What choices and changes you will have to make
  • What new or different activities you will have to pursue
  • What kind of mentors, coaches, or supporters you will need to help you
  • What tools, equipment, or learning environment you will need to have to reach your goals

Important contributors to success

Be realistic. You must be realistic about where you are and what you will have to change in your life to set aside the time to do what it takes to reach your goal. These are important considerations about the choices you will have to make every day. For most people, every new “yes” to something new means you have to eliminate something you are doing now.

Realize every goal is really three connected goals. Is your three-set of connected goals clear to you?

  • Your Outcome goal – what you are going to achieve.
  • Performance goals – what your personal schedule says you will achieve on a specific date.
  • Process goals – what you will do each day and/or week to ensure you attain the necessary improvement to reach your performance goals.

Assemble the right support. What kind support team do you need? What kind of mentors, teachers, experts will you need to acquire new knowledge, skills, practice to improve your skills. Also, who will you need as a support group and accountability team? Who do you need in your corner to help you make it through the tough days? Who will be your cheerleader to motivate, push, and remind you why you started this process and why it’s important to you? Who will help you be accountable to your commitment?

Do you need a specific environment, tools, technology do reach your goals? Do you have access to these resources if they are essential for you goal?

Do you have the right mindset? Change is tough. To reach your goals, the achievement must be meaningful enough to create a different standard of discipline, resolve, relentlessness, resourcefulness, and personal pride to ensure you stay on track and don’t drift from your action plan.

The final checklist:

  1. Is my goal pass/fail clear?
  2. Is my plan SMART?
  3. Are there clear progress milestones that will highlight my performance?
  4. Do I have clear activities that I must perform every day and every week to reach my performance goals?
  5. Is the benefit I receive by achieving the goal meaningful to me?
  6. Do I have a support team?
  7. Do I have the environment I need?
  8.  Do I have right mindset?

Remember those New Year goals? They can be Anytime goals! And you can achieve them with the right goal, plan, support, and determination.

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