The Importance of Setting SMART Goals

Setting goals seems simple enough but can be quite challenging when you get down to the nitty-gritty. Goal-setting goes beyond just writing a list down on a piece of paper; you need to have a plan in place to reach those goals.

If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry! You’re not alone. Most people are afraid to set goals because they’re afraid of failing to achieve them, but goal setting is supposed to be scary—and it’s also supposed to be fun. All you have to do is commit to achieving your goals and remain open-minded and flexible in your approach.

Set goals that are clear and challenging, and then commit fully to them, giving yourself the time, space, and motivation to achieve them. And before you ask, “well, how do I do any of that?” know that I’ve got your back. The first thing to remember is that you want to set S.M.A.R.T. goals, aka goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

Specific

When most people think about setting goals, they think about goals such as, increase sales or get more followers on Instagram. Those are great, but they’re also vague, which means they’ll be difficult to achieve. However, if you take these goals and make them more specific, you’ll set yourself up for success.

For example, if your goal is to increase sales, you have to think about who you’re selling to, what your specific sales goals are, and how you’re going to reach them. Your end goal is to sell more of your products and services, but you have to have a roadmap to get there.

So instead of saying, “I’d like to increase my sales,” try something like, “I’d like to increase my sales by 6% in six months.” 

 

Measurable

Setting measurable goals allows you to stay on track and meet deadlines. Take the example above: the measurable parts of that goal are the 6% sales increase and the six-month deadline. With these two things in mind, ask yourself how you’ll know if you’re on track to meet your goal and how you’ll know if you need to adjust your strategy. 

Achievable

Is your goal of increasing sales by 6% in six months feasible? You should always challenge yourself with the goals you set, but you also don’t want to set goals that are impossible to achieve. The best way to see if your goal is attainable is to look at your previous track record—whether that’s sales or follower count or something else entirely—and compare it to your goal. If you’ve gained 400 new followers on Instagram in the last six months but want to gain 100,000 in the next six months, you might not be setting yourself up for success. It’s better to start smaller than to overwhelm yourself by trying to reach an unachievable goal.

Realistic

Setting realistic goals goes hand-in-hand with setting achievable or attainable goals. Ask yourself, “does this goal make sense with where I am with my business right now?” “Do I have the resources and time to achieve it?” Think about goals you might have set before but didn’t attain because they weren’t realistic or relevant at the time. Maybe they are now!

Timely

Your goals need deadlines to be successful because it’s easy to push something to the bottom of your priority list when you’re not pressed for time. This isn’t to say that you need to stress yourself out to achieve a goal in two weeks but set a date that isn’t too far in the distant future. Many companies set quarterly goals, but choose a timeframe that works best for you and your employees.

More Goal-Setting Tips

Now that you know how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals, here are a few more tips to ensure that you not only achieve your goals but also have fun while doing so:

Focus on the journey, not the destination

This might sound contradictory since setting goals means you begin with the end in mind, but it’s important to focus on the process of achieving your goals and the steps you take to achieve them. This will not only help you stay present but also allow you to adjust your game plan when necessary. As Miley says, “it’s all about the climb.”

Utilize your support system

Whether it’s your coworkers, employees, friends, or family, seek support from those around you. They can help keep you accountable, reassure you when doubts creep in and provide you with feedback when you need to adjust your plans.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Try posting your goals in a place where you can see them so that you can stay motivated to work toward them. It’s especially satisfying to cross a goal off the list once you’ve achieved it.

Treat yourself

As you start accomplishing tasks that move you closer to achieving your goals, don’t forget to reward yourself. This may look like taking a long walk at the end of a challenging day of work, engaging in some retail therapy, or taking some time for self-care.

The Bottom Line

Goals don’t have to be giant projects that take forever to achieve; they can be small tasks that challenge you over weeks or months and keep you moving forward. Goal setting is a process, and it’s one that takes constant review, assessment, and flexibility, so be kind to yourself and allow yourself to fail or succeed as many times as you need to.

And if you want help getting started, check out my Goal Getter Workbook to set yourself on the path to greatness, whatever that means to you! 

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