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I wanted to talk to you today about SMART Goals. Module 6: Vision & Goals of A Living System are all about planning. It’s like project management for your life. Part of this mapping and planning are the goals you set. But first let’s break down Module 6 into a condensed and accelerated version for you newer folks.
When someone asks you, “What’s your vision?”, do you have an answer? A lot of people think they do, but those are usually just dreams. The difference between a vision and a dream is a vision is a clear understanding of what you want to do and accomplish with your life. A dream is more of a fantasy. Sure, dreams are nice, but many dreams are not realistic. The good news is, you can turn your dreams into a vision, so you don’t spend your whole life wishing on a star.
If your dream is to be a multi-millionaire, my question for you would be, “How are you going to accomplish that?” If you don’t have a clue, then you’re dreaming. But if you say, “I’m going to study stocks, inventing, economics, day trading, and build a portfolio until I’m satisfied”, then you’re in the process of turning your dream into a vision. There are plenty of ways to become a multi-millionaire, but you get the idea. It’s the part where you have a general idea of how you’re going to do it that begins to transform a dream into a vision.
Now, a vision, once established, is broken down in goals. Each goal is a piece to your puzzle that, when put together properly, reveals your vision. SMART goals are a method of breaking down your goals to help you focus and prioritize what needs to be done. In Module 6, I explain this as breaking down your goals into steps, and your steps into tasks. SMART actual stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. So what advantage does a SMART goal have over a regular goal? Let me tell you.
Your goals should be specific to your vision. Even more, they should be specific as to what you are trying to accomplish. If you want to be a speaker who gets gigs, make that more specific. For example: I want to get 2 speaking gigs per month for the next 6 months. See the difference? Being specific narrows down your attention on what you actually need to focus on. Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why are great questions to start with to get specific with your goals.
A measurable means you have a way to validate whether or not your goal has been achieved. Saying, “I want to make more money” isn’t very measurable. Saying, “I want to increase my salary by $10,000 by the end of this year.” is a measurable goal because by the end of the year you can validate whether or not you have increased your salary by $10k. If you have, excellent! If you have not, then you are will working on achieving your goal.
Attainable goals are goals that you can actually achieve. Remember, skills, talent, knowledge, experience, education, credentials, etc. can all be developed with time, but focus on where you are at this moment. Bodybuilders don’t walk into the gym and say, “I’m going to be the next Mr. Olympia by next month” when they haven’t been working out for the last year. That’s unattainable. Saying, “I’d like to loose 10 lbs of body fat and be able to bench press 50 more lbs than I do now by next month.” is a more specific and attainable goal. Setting a high, yet attainable goal, is a great way to provide an incentive that motivates yourself.
Relevant goals are goals that you can relate to. Trying to get a job as project manager when you’ve never managed anyone, have no management experience, and no management education, is not a relevant goal. Try an entry level position to get some exposure to it. It’s not that you don’t have what it takes, but how do you know if you’ll even like a project management position? If you know you want the position, then make it a long term goal, and work towards getting the experience and education you’ll need to build the skill set required for that position, then GO FOR IT! I’m not in the business of inhibiting your self-belief, I just don’t want you to set yourself up for disappointment by getting your hopes too high. Remember, Vision is broken down into Goals, Goals are broken down into Steps, Steps are broken down into Tasks.
Finally, T stands for Timely, and that means establishing deadlines. The big questions is, “WHEN?” When do you want to accomplish your goal? In the speaking gigs goal I used for being specific, I said “I want to get 2 speaking gigs per month for the next 6 months.” 6 months is the time frame I established for that example, with one month being the smaller time frame for getting the 2 gigs. If I had said, “I want to get 2 speaking gigs for this weekend” and it’s Thursday, unless I’m a well-known speaker and there are gigs available, I might be setting myself up for failure. Be realistic.
My personal SMART Goal:
My personal smart goal was to write and publish my book by the end of 2017. I had a great structure to it all. I broke down the 12 months of the year, each having a step to take towards reaching my goal, and I used each week of each month to finish tasks for that month’s step. On paper, it was ideal. I gave myself ample time, and made sure it was an attainable goal, and it was. However, I did not finish my book due to life. My family, my job (which is how I earn the majority of my earnings), and my personal life, took priority and the book was moved to the back burner of life’s stove top. I saw it happening and I was content with the offset of my original goal. I revised my goal for my book and pushed the deadline to October 22, 2018, which is when I will have my book upload to my site for sale and then I will look into selling it through other platforms like Amazon.
Sometimes life will hit you with a curve call, so SMART goals help you plan better so when you say yes to a goal and life says no, you aren’t blindsided by left hook. If you find yourself behind schedule for one of your goals, consider revising your goal to accommodate your current circumstances. If you can press on and persist, by all means do it, you’ll thank yourself when you achieve your goal. But if you must reassess, then do so and carry out your new goal, just don’t give up on it completely. You can watch my vlog about my struggles with writing here to get a better feel for what I went through when I noticed I wasn’t on schedule for my SMART goal.
I hope this was helpful for you. Keep an eye out for my book coming in October. I learned my lesson and I’m right on schedule this time! I’ll leave you with some tips to remind yourself whenever you’re feeling daunted or experiencing self-doubt.
- You can do it, even if there’s a 100 things to do before you do the 1 thing you want to.
- Every journey starts with that first step, and everyone who’s successful start with their first step to their journey. Don’t be afraid to take your first step.
- We all fail sometimes. Even me. Learn from a failure, and try again. What matters is that you try again.
- Remember your Why. It’s the reason you started, it’s the desire you had to start with, it’s the fire that drives you. Use that Why to empower you to reach you goals.
- Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant – Timely
- Tasks > Steps > Goals > Vision (reverse engineer this)
Thanks for reading everyone!