Setting goals is something you do every day. It’s an important part of making a plan and growth. But how many times have you set goals for yourself that have seemed just impossible to accomplish or unrealistic?
When you set goals, it’s important to be as specific as possible. The more general and lofty your goals are, the less likely you are to actually achieve them. That’s where SMART goals come in. SMART goals are a surefire way to confirm that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable/Attainable, Relevant/Reachable and Time Bound. The more detailed your goals are, the better you can incorporate them into your daily life and achieve them.
Many times we throw out a goal like “Find a job.” While this is a great goal, you aren’t being specific enough to help you achieve it. What kind of job? What industry? Finding a job is so general that you could get overwhelmed with all the directions you could go in. A better way to lay out this goal would be to say “Find a full-time job in digital marketing for a company in NYC.” Now you know where you’re looking, what industry you are looking for and what qualifications you need. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to make progress.
Measurable goals are all about showing what success will look like once you accomplish the goal. So your goal of finding a full-time job in digital marketing for a company in NYC can be measurable by saying you are making a monthly income of $4000 and are able to pay your rent and have enough money for that gym membership you’ve been wanting.
Making a goal actionable or attainable is key. Can you accomplish this? Let’s say you are building your own business and your goal is to make your marketing reach four times as many people. Is this attainable? Do you have the staff, funds and time to devote to making this happen? Make sure you aren’t putting too much pressure on a goal that just isn’t feasible, otherwise it will become impossible to reach and more of a stressor than a motivator.
This is the most important part of goal setting: do you actually want to reach this goal? Let’s use the marketing reach goal from above. Do you care or really want to invest time into increasing your marketing? Do you have the bandwidth to do it? Or to look at the marketing job example, do you want to live in NYC? Understanding what you want and WHY the goal is important and relevant to you is the key to accomplishing it. That “why” will motivate you to make it happen.
Just as it sounds, time bound goals help you stay on track to achieving the end result. For example:
Finding a full-time job in digital marketing for a company in NYC by December 2020.
Make your marketing reach four times as many people by October 2020.
This helps you break down what needs to happen leading up to the goal. When do you need to start? How many hours a week do you need to devote to the goal?
Remember to be flexible with timing. If you haven’t found that job by December 2020, push it to January or February. If your marketing reach has grown twice as big by October, extend that four times goal to December. Keep pushing forward! Don’t limit yourself by being strict about the timeline.
Once you get your SMART goals defined, it’s important to be consistent. Don’t wait til December to start looking for that job. Don’t wait til September to start pushing your marketing. Take reasonable steps every day, every week to work towards your goal. Baby steps every day make more progress than a huge leap at the last minute. Build your goals into your schedule so you can track your progress.