SMART Goals you say?
I’ve talked briefly in a few other posts about setting SMART goals, but I think it’ll be beneficial to go into a little more detail to help any of you who are considering starting your own remote business, lifestyle business, blog. To be honest, once I figured out how to use SMART goals I even started using them in my day to day life! (Who doesn’t love setting up goals for your laundry, right?)
Now it’s often challenging, especially for entrepreneurs to set firm goals. The trouble I always had was whenever I had an idea I wanted to grab a pen or a keyboard and just get stuck straight into it and didn’t want to plan! I always worried that if I stopped, I’d loose interest and any momentum. But actually setting SMART goals can have the opposite effect, using this technique below you will be able to accomplish the following things:
- See your goals realised.
- Feel like your making progress towards your goals.
- Have a great structure to modify your ambitions and to think about what’s next for your business / goal.
- Gain momentum for your goals and push on to achieve bigger and greater goals.
Now goal setting is often an area which is the hardest to grasp when starting out a new venture, we all want to see immediate results for our hard work. Yet we do sometimes set ourselves unrealistic or unattainable goals in the immediate future and this can leave us disinterested or feeling like we have failed. So lets get right down to it and explain what SMART goals are.
SMART goals is an acronym that stands for:
- Realistic / Relevant
Let’s just break down exactly what a SMART Goal is and why we would want to use this acronym for setting up our goals:
When you set any goal you want to be specific about what the goal is. A specific goal has a much greater chance of being achieved than a general goal.
A great technique for writing a specific goal is to use the five ‘W’ questions.
Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Why: Specific reason, purpose or benefits of achieving the goal.
I could say ‘I want my website to be popular’ (very unspecific and hard to measure, more on this later). But a much better goal instead of ‘I want my website to be popular’ might be ‘I want my website to have 1000 page views’.
A goal you set should be measurable so that you can know if you’re working towards achieving that goal. By measuring your progress towards your goal it helps you to keep on track, reach your target by the date you want and also it helps give you a sense of excitement when you’re close to achieving your goal, which can spur you on!
In the example above, the specific goal that we changed to was also measurable as wanting a website to be popular is an unmeasurable goal; we have no way of knowing how far we are off of achieving that goal, whereas wanting 1000 page views is measurable. If we have 750 page views, we know we are 75% of the way there. You could also make the goal measurable by putting a timescale on achieving your goal. For example, ‘I want my website to have 1000 page views by the 31st of December’.
When you set your goals you want to make sure they are achievable; as unachievable goals can be un-motivating. Also by identifying the goals that are most important to you, you begin to discover ways that you can make them come true, often in ways in which you previously might have overlooked.
You can attain almost any goal you set when you plan each step wisely and setup a time frame that allows you to carry out these steps. Goals that can initially feel out of reach can eventually move closer and become more attainable, not due to your goals shrinking but because you individually grow and expand to match these goals.
By making goals achievable you see yourself grow as you attain these smaller goals which eventually leads you to achieve larger goals. So as in the example above when you’re setting out a new blog initially, to make the goal achievable you might want to set it to ‘I want my website to have 100 page views by 15th December’. This goal is much easier to hit, but is also progressive to your larger goal of 1000 visitors. Once you then achieve the smaller goal you can amend and set yourself a new goal.
It’s important when setting your goals to make them realistic.
If you set yourself an unrealistic goal, you more than likely won’t achieve it and that can lead to de-motivation or even quitting (which we don’t want now do we?) Remember though, a high goal is frequently easier to achieve than a low goal, due to a low goal exerting low motivational force. Sometimes some of the hardest jobs you have ever achieved actually seem really easy because they were a labour of love. Some things to think about when setting realistic goals is to make sure your goal represents an objective you are willing and able to work towards. That doesn’t mean your goals can’t be high, but it’s important to decide just how high your goal should be. It’s worth noting that each goal should be setup to work towards progressing.
Your goal should always be grounded within a certain time frame. Without a time-frame, your goal has no sense of urgency. If you’re thinking of losing 10 lbs., when do you want to lose it by? ‘Someday’ just won’t work, but if you put your goal within a time frame, ‘by 1st February’, then you’ve set your mind into action to begin working towards that goal. The best thing about setting a timeframe is that it helps you to think about realistically what you want your timescale of progression to look like. For example, setting myself the goal of leaving my job by this time next year has given me a lot of purpose to start achieving my other goals to make that a reality.
Putting it into practice
Now that i’ve explained what a SMART goal is and given you a full run-down of what each section involves, I’m passing the baton over to you.
Time for a challenge.
What I now want you to do is to take 5 minutes. Grab a cup of tea / coffee, find a nice quiet place, grab a pen and paper or your laptop and write down a small achievable goal that you think you can achieve by this time next week.
Think about all the principles we outlined above and use the SMART principle to set yourself this goal.
Now once you’ve gotten your SMART goal written down, pop it into a quick email and send it over to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org , I’d love to hear about the goals you are setting!
Once you’ve sent it over I’ll then see if there is anything I can do to help you achieve that goal, and once we are there… we can go right ahead and set the next one. Now there is another reason I’m asking you to email it over to me, and thats accountability. Once you share that goal with somebody it makes you accountable to that other person, and this unlocks a strong driver in our brains that spurs us on to completing and fulfilling our goals.
Feel free to use somebody else closer to home than myself if you feel a little uncomfortable with sharing your goals, I did this exact thing with one of my friends and it spurred me on to achieve the goal that I shared with them.
I wish you every success with your goals and ambitions, and look forward to hearing from you! Feel free to share any successes or questions you have in the comments down below to!