Your Essential Guide to SMART Goals
Your success in life depends on smart goals. The majority of us move through life without any specific smart goals. If we do have a goal or two they are quickly forgotten about as we are distracted by what we are 'supposed' to be doing, or by our well meaning friends or family members who tell us to be 'realistic'.
Well I can tell you with 100% certainty that life was not supposed to be that way!
Life was supposed to be the way you want it to be. Providing you don't hurt or adversely affect others then you can achieve all your life's ambitions by using smart goals.
The SMART acronym has it's origins in performance management, whereby goals and targets set for employees must fulfill certain criteria. The SMART acronym itself stands for:
Before I talk about the specific, I need to explain an important point. You are made up of two minds, the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind is in touch with external things by medium of the five senses and transmits your desires(and worries/fears) to the subconscious mind which is the seat of immense power within you.
It knows no impossible, no failure, no limit or lack. The subconsious mind will accept anything that the conscious mind tells it. It therefore depends on the guidance of the conscious mind and throws its great power into anything that the conscious mind may direct.
As a demonstration of the power of the subconscious mind look what happens when subjects are given tasks to perform while hypnotised (ie. conscious mind asleep)
- sing beautifully although they "can't" sing;
- shiver and turn blue as if they're at the north pole;
- lift objects that they "thought" were too heavy to lift.
It is therefore important that the conscious mind unite with the subconscious mind and indeed if this were true man would not be a slave of circumstance but rather master of his environment.
It is such a shame that the subconscious mind is stopped from achieving anything substantial simply because the conscious mind judges everything by what the eye and ear reports to be true, much of which is only perception and with no real truth. If you want to read more on the subject you can download a free book I read regularly. I find it very inspirational.
Getting back to our smart goals, we said that the 's' stands for specific. Our goals must be specific so the subconscious knows what to work on.
For example - I want to be a millionaire as opposed to wanting to be rich. If you can't imagine £1,000,000 then break it down into smaller amounts like £100,000 to begin with.
But don't forget your ultimate goal. Oh, and one more thing, your goal has to excite the pants off you, or it will fade away and you will not achieve it!!
Your smart goal has to be measurable. If you say you want to be a man in a powerful position, then that statement is ambiguous because it is not measurable. If you say I want to be managing director of the company I work for then that is measurable. Be careful you use smaller goals to achieve your larger goal of managing director eg. if you work in the post room its very unlikely you will jump to managing director overnight, therefore smaller promotions will be neccessary for a time before you eventually reach your longer term target.
Your smart goal has to be achievable. All goals are achievable! However, it's the time element that is the limiting factor, eg. if you wanted to be a millionaire by tomorrow morning, then it is extremely unlikely you will achieve it, in 5 years time, well that's a different matter.
Also be aware of making goals too easy. You need to stretch yourself but know deep down that it is achievable, and of course remember it needs to excite you.
What do we mean by a realistic smart goal?
Well, as I said previously all goals are achievable, however in your present circumstances they might not be realistic. For example, if you want to start a business, which is very achievable, but because of your present circumstances you don't have time to allocate to it, then it will not be realistic to have that as a smart goal. However if you have more time, then your smart goal becomes more realistic and therefore you have a better chance to achieve it.
The T in smart goals is very important. If you have a definate time to complete the goal, then you have created a sense of urgency and therefore motivation. However this timeline must be realistic and therefore achievable. Becoming managing director from post room clerk in one year is not realistic.
People frequently overestimate what they can achieve in a year, but underestimate what they can achieve in ten years.
How to devise your smart goals
There is a simple, but very effective system I use annually to devise my smart goals. I do it between Christmas and January 1st when people naturally think about the new year. You will need a piece of paper and a pen for this. Write down the following headings with a gap between each.
Now sit back and relax and under each heading write something you really want. It doesn't matter how unrealistic it sounds, in fact the more unrealistic it sounds the better.
You should have a great big smile on your face when you are doing this. If you want that Ferrari then put it down.
You must not think about how you will achieve it at this stage!
The important thing is to get everything you want to achieve on paper.
If you're not smiling you are not doing it properly!
You should now have at least 2-3 goals per section. Beside each item put a timeline of 1 to 5 years. Once you have done this, group the 1 year, 2 years, ....5 years together.
Now take your 1 year goals and decide what small step you are going to take today to achieve them, eg. if you want a new BMW, then book a test drive today! It doesn't matter if you don't have the money. The sales person won't know that.
Do this with your other categories. It is imperative that you do take a small step.
Goals without action are useless!
How do you feel?
If you start to think I can't achieve this, that is your conscious mind telling your subconscious mind it can't achieve it, so it won't. Remember what we said earlier.
Also remember this:
Perception (by the conscious mind) is an illusion, ie we all perceive the same thing differently (so how can it be real??). The outside world is always a reflection of our inner thoughts! This means that you can create your own world. It is your past conditioning and belief system that is holding you back!!
Now the last thing I want to say is perhaps the most important. You must visualise your goals every single day as if you have already achieved them.
How would that make you feel?
The Villa, The Ferrari, The Holidays and so on.....
You are completely responsible for your own life, embrace that responsibility and have fun.
Goal Setting at The Happy Manager
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Goal Setting Inspiration
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there"
"Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning"
"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."