We have all heard that the best way to go about setting goals and achieving them is with SMART goals. But if setting goals and achieving them were as simple as making them SMART, why aren’t more people achieving like crazy using this standard and often-repeated mantra?
1. Goals are a Messy Business. The process of setting goals and achieving them is a dirty one. Our plans fall apart, our self-confidence and pride get tested to the point of breaking, and more often than not, that glorious goal at the end of the rainbow starts to look a little less glorious once we’ve shed some blood, sweat and tears. Go into the journey of setting goals and achieving them knowing that things won’t go awesome 100% of the time.
2. Don’t Repeat Your Mistakes. Seems like a no-brainer, but you would be amazed at how many people fall back into their old way of doing things. It’s not our fault—we are creatures of comfort and habit, even if those habits are bad. If you failed at getting that promotion you want, try a new approach. If that fails, try again until you find what works. Finding the right way to setting goals and achieving them is often a trial-and-error process. Painful, but it’s much faster than doing the same thing over and over. Make sure you are PDCA’ing with a mentor on a monthly basis.
3. Stay Away from Absurd Goals. These often fall into the “all-or-nothing” category. An example: “I am going turbo 50 this month” . If you’re at turbo nothing it is always best to set a stretch goal but also a goal that is achievable.
4. Whether You Like it or Not, Stuff is Going to Happen. In the process of setting goals and achieving them we cannot plan for everything that happens. Realize that things will not always go your way—it’s how you react when that first obstacle comes hurtling down at you that ultimately matters. Stay consistent and you will win.
5. Don’t Make Massive Changes Overnight. A frequently overlooked aspect to setting goals and achieving them is the fact that it takes time to mould ourselves into the person we want to be. Trying to change numerous bad habits in the blink of an eye is ambitious considering that it took years, possibly even decades to form those pesky habits to begin with.
6. Avoid Publicizing Your Goal Till You Absolutely Know It’s What You Want. Before declaring to all of your friends, family and neighbors that you are going to quit your job in the next two months make sure it is something you are absolutely going to follow through with. Try not to be one of those people who commonly talk about doing amazing things and never get around to doing them; instead, be that rare person who simply does them.
7. Don’t Wait. Ever. Putting off starting your goal, or the next step in your goal, makes sure that you will never get to it. Procrastination is a polite way of saying you are not going to do it. If your goal means this much to you, there shouldn’t be a single, solitary reason for not acting now. The only thing standing between you and setting goals and achieving them is action.