This is the third blog in our series on how to set and achieve your goals. In this blog, we’ll talk about why you should be SMART when setting goals and about the differences between process goals and SMART goals.
This is what a SMART goal should be:
Your goal must be clear and well-defined. Vague goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide enough direction. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up e.g. ‘Retire at 62 with £750,000’ rather than ‘Retire with a lot of money’.
For a goal to be measurable you need to include a monetary amount, a percentage of working time, a number of days or some other quantity. The benefit of setting a goal with a measurement is it enables you to see whether or not the goal has been met.
Awesome can be defined as ‘extremely impressive or daunting’. Being impressive means they’ll be inspiring to yourself and others, and being daunting (just outside of your comfort zone) means they are significant enough to make a big impact.
A realistic goal just means something that is actually achievable. It’s important to remember that you might set out with what you think is a realistic goal, but over time it may become clear that it’s not working. If a goal isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it.
Time-bound just means setting yourself a deadline. It’s no use saying “I want to lose 6lb” if you don’t say when you want to lose it by! But, if you say “I want to lose 6lb by the end of the year” then you’ll be more likely to take steps to work towards it. Plus, if you have a finishing line, you’ll be able to celebrate when you cross it!
Start with why
Being SMART will only get you so far. You need to ask yourself ‘WHY?’ you’re setting your goals. No matter how SMART a goal is, you probably still won’t achieve it if you don’t know what the purpose is, what it means to you and why it is important. Here’s an example of a goal which is specific, measurable, awesome, realistic, time-bound and also includes a why…
There are many different goal-setting methodologies and the most important thing is to choose one which works for you. We like process goals because they benefit you by helping to combat subconscious thinking in the way that they are worded.
Proces goals must be:
- Stated in the present
- Stated as a process
Some examples of process goals are:
- “I am getting fitter”
- ”I am living a healthier lifestyle”
- “My will power is getting stronger”
- “I am moving rapidly towards financial security”
Present and positive
The most important differences between process goals and SMART goals are that process goals are stated in the present and are positive. Most people write goals for the future, but if you write them in the present it can really help to overturn subconscious behaviours, as the brain is less likely to ignore instructions that are being given to it in this way.
So, instead of “Don’t eat chocolate” say “I’m eating more fruit and it’s making me feel great.”
There are lots of other goal-setting methodologies, and we’ve recommended a book in the GOALS whitepaper on OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), the method that Google uses, but if you search online for goal setting you’ll find many more suggestions. Again, we don’t want you to get too hung up on the differences between all the different ways of writing your goals, you just need to make sure you choose a way that works for you.
Next up: how to achieve goals
In the upcoming blog on how to set and achieve goals, we’ll explain how to achieve goals and we’ll talk about personal vs. business goals. In the meanwhile, you can download and read our free GOALS whitepaper below.
If you would like to get started setting goals and need extra support, contact our business advisors today.