By Lori Smith
You don’t have to be a CEO of a company to set goals. Goals are important to all of us whether it is for our careers, personal or financial objectives. Goals are a roadmap to where you want to be or achieving what you want to accomplish. Establishing long and short term goals is a good way to turn decisions you make into a reality. “A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish.” (Larry Elder)
Simply stated, goal setting is merely being organized in your personal planning process. The best way to achieve your goal is to make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
A specific goal is much more likely to be realized than a general goal. Clearly articulate what it is you hope to achieve. To make goals specific, they must outline exactly what is expected, why is it important, who’s involved, where is it going to happen and which attributes are important.
An example of a general goal would be to “Save money for a trip to Disney.” But a specific goal would be, “Cut down on discretional spending. Set aside $50.00 per week for one year in order to save $2,600.00 for a trip to Disney.”
Identify concrete criteria to measure your progress towards achieving your goal. A measurable goal will usually answer, “How much?”; “How many?”; and “How will I know when it is accomplished?” This will help you to stay on track, reach your target dates and ultimately reach your goal!
Set goals that are reasonable and that can be attained through time and energy. While your goal may be stretch, it should not be unrealistic. When working towards a goal that is important to you, you will find ways to achieve it. You will have the confidence to make it come true and will begin to develop the attitude, ability and skills necessary to make it a reality. An achievable goal will usually answer the question, “How can this goal be accomplished?”
A realistic goal will be something you are both willing and able to work towards. Only you can decide how high your goal should be. Often times a high goal is easier to achieve than a low goal because you will be motivated to work harder towards it. A realistic goal will usually answer, “Is this goal reasonable and within your reach?”; and “Are you willing to commit to your goal?”
Grounding your goals within a timeframe is an important aspect of reaching your goal. Without a timeframe it is easy to lose focus or become overtaken by other daily responsibilities. A timely goal will usually answer, “When?”; “What can I do today?”; “What can I do four weeks from today?”; and “What can I do four months from today?”
“Perhaps one of the most immediate effects of goal setting is the gratification you feel when you set a goal, stick to a plan and achieve it. Once you begin to make goals and achieve them you will gain confidence in yourself and gain a better understanding of your strengths!” (Quintessential Careers)