What is the difference between a goal and a wish?
General Wish: “I would love to write a book some day”
General Goal: “I want to write a book.”
Specific Goal: “I want to write a book on time management that is at least 200 pages in length and have it done by June 16th. I’ll commit myself to writing at least 2 pages every workday until I reach completion.”
Watch your language. If you are not specific with your wording, then you are giving yourself permission not to succeed. Other goal killers are words like “I’ll try”, “I’d love to, but…”, “I wish I could do that, but…” I am sure you know where I am coming from with this.
Goal Setting is a process, and a skill that can be learned and practiced (so no excuses, right?)
Setting a SMART Goal is a process, and a skill that can be learned and practiced (so no excuses, right?). Firstly, you need a SMART goal.
What is a SMART Goal?
A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I know):
- Who: Who is involved?
- What: What do I want to accomplish?
- Where: Identify a location.
- When: Establish a time frame.
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
General goal: “Get in shape.”
Specific Goal: “To lose 7 lbs and tone up, I will join a health club/gym in [your local gym here] and workout 3 days a week until Easter. I will take a weekly inventory of my diet to identify problem areas. I will walk 30 mins on good days, and exercise inside when weather is not good. I will enrol my husband/wife to keep me accountable. I will be fit enough to run the mini marathon in September.”
Measurable / Manageable
If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as…
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
General goal: “I want to be rich.”
Measurable goal: “I want to generate $100,000 in passive income within 5 years from this date.”
Attainable / Achievable
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
Non-Attainable: “I want to lose 12 lbs in the next 2 weeks”
More attainable: “I want to lose 2 lbs in the first week, and then 1 lb a week for 11 weeks”
Realistic / Relevant
To be realistic, a goal must be do-able! It must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have achieved anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to realistically accomplish this goal.
Unrealistic Goal: “Within one year, I want to become a warlord and have many loyal soldiers who will commit acts of terrorism on my behalf.”
Realistic Goal: “By the end of the year, I want to build a philanthropic foundation that helps feed the homeless.”
A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 12 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a time-frame, “by Jun 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Untimely Goal: “I am going to do this project.”
Timely Goal: “I am going to finish this project by 8pm tonight and I’ll achieve this deadline by spending one hour on each subject.”
T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.
So now your goal is SMART, where do we go from here?
- A goal gets you from HERE to THERE. Imagine the THERE – picture it, feel it, sense it, use your senses to experience it.
- Decide what you want to BE, DO, and HAVE with relation to your goal. Some people have a stigma around being great, doing great things or having great things. Let’s talk about money. Some may perceive money as evil – the ruination of many a nation. Money itself is not a bad thing. It’s what you do with money that makes it good or bad. So if your motivation is to earn more or get more money, that is a good thing, and totally up to you what you do with it and how you treat or mistreat it. I heard Anna Presso speak one day, and she used the analogy of a knife. A knife in itself is an innocent thing. It’s what we do with the knife that matters – do we butter bread with it or do we stick it in somebody?
- Ask yourself WHY you set that particular goal.
- Ask yourself what you will gain from achieving this goal – make an extensive list (when you think you are finished, list 5 more)
- Ask yourself what you will lose by not achieving this goal – again make a list (stretch your imagination again on this one)
- Internal motivation is the only lasting motivation – ensure this goal belongs to you and you are not setting it to keep or make someone else happy. Ask yourself if this goal is in tune with your reality, your visions, your values and your belief system. Ask yourself will achieving this goal make you happy, will you feel good?
- TEST your goal – does it stretch you – will you grow as a consequence. Your answer here should be YES, if not refer back to point 4. Read it aloud to yourself and observe your emotions and reactions when you read it. If it gives you butterflies in your tummy, then YES, it is on track with you.
- Stick to your goal and don’t change it, unless altering a portion the goal will improve the outcome for you. Changing is a consequence of distraction or procrastination, both detrimental to achieving goals.
- Give your goal time to grow, be patient with it, become it’s friend and advocator. Watch out for shortcuts and shortfalls.
- Plan your actions – probably the toughest part of goal setting – is acting. ACT now!!! Don’t bother waiting for the perfect time or conditions, because they will never arrive. Waiting for the perfect time is the perfect excuse for doing nothing!