What is SMART?
We’re one month into 2015, which is the perfect time to evaluate the goals you set for 2015. Earlier we talked about the importance of using SMART to make our goals. (See Be SMART) Below is a brief overview of what SMART means in relation to goal setting.
- Specific – you need to know what you are trying to achieve
- Measurable – you need to be able to quantify your goal
- Attainable – you actually need to be able to reach your goal
- Relevant – it should be important for you and your situation
- Time-bound – your goal should have a target date
Using this as a guide to create your goals will increase your chances of success.
There are many factors that can affect the success or failure of each of your goals. I will discuss a few of these and give you suggestions on how to overcome some hurdles. Right now, let’s take a few minutes and review where you are with each of your goals. If you wrote your goals out (if you didn’t, do so now), take out the piece of paper or open the document, put today’s date on it and write a few notes detailing where you are with achieving your goal. Be honest. Be candid. Are you where you thought you would be at this point? If yes, great job and keep up the momentum. If not, consider what happened or didn’t happen and write that down. Next, write down what you are going to do next to continue (or start) the progress on your goal. Keep in mind that you are going to be reviewing these notes again in March. Did that make you think differently about what you wrote? Lastly, go to your calendar and create an appointment (with reminder) for March 3. This will be the day you go through this entire process again. The best way to commit to achieving your goals is to commit to reviewing your progress.
As I mentioned earlier, there are many factors that can keep you from reaching your goals. I’m going to cover a few that are within your control and give suggestions on how to overcome them.
Lack of Commitment
When we sit down and start developing our goals, especially around the first of the year, we have the best intentions of achieving success. We are excited, energized, and probably visualizing how things will look when we have succeeded. Then, when the goal-setting process is over, do we file them away and get back to our day-to-day routine? After a period of time we may remember that we have goals and work on them for a while, but then put them aside again. Eventually, the due date has slipped by and we have completely forgotten about the goals. While writing goals down greatly helps the chances of success, unless you regularly review your progress, the chances of success drop. Depending on your goal and it’s timeframe, you should create a structured review of your progress. It may be once each month or maybe it’s even weekly, but it needs to happen and you need to keep putting it in writing.
Fear of Success
Pick one of your goals and visualize how things look when you have succeeded far beyond your expectations? How does this make you feel? Are you really excited or do you get a little nervous and feel uncomfortable? One of the main reasons why goals are not met is because people get uncomfortable with the prospect of change. Many people will focus on succeeding at their day-to-day tasks instead of working towards accomplishing their goals. The day-to-day is what they are used to and is well within their comfort zone. Getting outside of our comfort zone is not always easy, but is what it takes to attain your goals and grow your business. While it is important for us to understand that things will change whether we want them to or not, understanding that does not always prevent it from blocking goals. One way to handle this fear is to talk about it with others. Whether it is in a peer group, business coach, spouse, friend or anyone else that you trust, discussing your fears and concerns is one of the best ways to get a grip on them and overcome them. You would be surprised how differently you feel once you have this conversation.
In my mind, one of the biggest reasons goals do not get accomplished is lack of accountability. As a business owner, who are you accountable to, besides yourself? Who can you confide in to help validate your progress or discuss issues? If there is no one holding you accountable, it is so much easier to focus on the day-to-day issues and let the goals you set slide to the next year. How often is that happening to you? One of the best ways successful business owners handle this issue is to engage someone outside their business to help them. This can be a mentor, peer group, or a business coach. Someone that will collaborate with you and at the same time give you candid feedback. If you met with this person on a routine basis, discussed your issues, and created action steps to accomplish your goals, do you think it would have an impact?
Your Next Goal
To increase the likelihood of attaining your goals, I want to give you a new goal. Find someone that you can review your goals with on a routine business. Make sure this is someone you can confide in and will give you honest, candid feedback on your progress. Ideally, this person will be able to give you suggestions on how to overcome obstacles and collaborate with you on action steps for you to complete. While I may be slightly biased (ok, a lot), a certified professional business coach might be the ideal candidate for this role. The important thing is for you to accomplish your goals and succeed, so if you do not have access to a business coach or peer group, a mentor or trusted friend is also a good option. Make sure you write this goal down and review it on March 3!