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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Goals for 2010? Make them SMART goals.

This time of year cause many of us to think about making resolutions or goals for the coming year. I do hear some people being very cynical about resolutions or goals because "they don't do them". How sad. I don't know what my life would be like if I didn't have a couple of goals to work toward. They help get me up in the morning. I know that there is the occasional goal that doesn't get done for a variety of reasons but for the most part my goals are met. Let me share a goal secret with you.

If you haven't heard of SMART goals, I'd like to introduce them to you. Having SMART goals is the first step toward really getting things accomplished in both your personal and business life. SMART is an acronym for:

S = Specific. In order to have a goal that you can achieve you have to be specific about what you want to get done. I have found that no matter if you are looking for a job or fitness changes if you can't be specific; you probably won't get anything done. Let me give you an example of specific: EX #1: I want to lose weight. EX #2: I want to lose 10 pounds. Big difference don't you think?

M = Measurable. If you can't actually measure your progress and know what you will accomplish, again, you probably won't. The example up above is very measureable. You may have goals that you think can't be measured. You have to be thinking of the outcome. Let's say your goal was to reduce your stress. To measure the reduction, you might give yourself a scale of 1 to 10. Your goal is to reduce your stress for month end close from a 10 to a 5. Since it is your scale, you can define it because it is relevant to what's important to your experience.

A = Achievable. Sometimes people identify goals that are unrealistic and unachievable for a variety of reasons. You have to do a sanity check and if you think you can't objectively figure this out, ask someone. If you have identified a goal that isn't realistic you are setting yourself up for goal failure. Examples that come to mind are those silly goals you often hear at beauty pageants like: "Solve world peace". Are you kidding me?

R = Resonant. Your goal has got to be something that gets you excited and interested. One goal I took for a few years was to learn to play golf. I kept doing nothing and rolling it forward to the next year. After doing that a few times, I sat back and examined what was going on. I really didn't want to learn to play golf. I wanted to do it to have something to do with my husband. I scratched it off my list. It wasn't resonant. It was a good idea but it held no juice for me. I found other things we could both enjoy.

T = Timed. A timed goal is one that has a date for the goal to be accomplished. As a coach, I'm constantly asking my clients "when will that be done?" A great way you can stay accountable is to know when to be to your goal. If your goal can be finished at any time, there is no motivation to start. If you don't start you never finish. It's just that simple.

None of the elements of a SMART goal are difficult to include when setting goals. The final step for making and achieving goals is to write them down. If you write them down you not only have something to remind you but it builds in a level of commitment to yourself. One other step toward success with your goals is to tell people about them. Like writing down your goals when you share your goals with others it affirms your commitment. If you are a resolution or goal cynic, try SMART goals and make this year a great year for getting all kinds of things accomplished.