Are Your Goals S.M.A.R.T?
In the last article, I have shared the 6 common fears that obstruct us from embarking on something new and unfamiliar.
Most common mistake is that most people make is lack of planning. They may want to lose some weight, starting a business, having a career switch or learning a new language. However, they do not plan. Most common reason that I hear is that “what is the point of planning if I don’t make it?” That is exactly the very reason why most people fail even before they start.
Let me give an example. Let’s say I want to shed some weight. I set that as one of my new year resolutions. In the beginning of the year, I would eat salad for all 3 meals and visit the gym 5 times a week. Every week, I would stand on the scales, hoping to see some numbers going down. Lo behold, the numbers does not move. Then I have invites from friends for buffet. Before the first quarter of the year, my weight loss plan became the following year’s new year resolution.
Sounds familiar? If we just set an intention, but no basic framework to work on, it is more likely for us to fall off from what we would like to do. It is not that you cannot do it, but you do not have a plan for it.
A goal without a timeline and a plan is nothing but a wish and a dream and it will remain there. To achieve our goals, we need to be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time bound.
When you set a goal, you have to be specific on what do you want to achieve. Do you remember in your job appraisal, your boss asks you where do you see yourself in 3 years? You cannot just say you want to be promoted. You need to be specific what position are you looking at. If you are starting a business, you have to be specific on what you want to do, who are you serving, when do you see yourself breaking even and what do you intend to do to get yourself shine in the market.
All goals have to be measurable in units or ability to do something.
“I want to lose weight” vs “I want to lose 5kg” Which of the above is more clear? Definitely the latter. There is a measurement in success.
If you want to learn a language, your success is marked by your ability to speak, read and write the language.
We all need action plans. We cannot just sit and wish magic will happen. You have to break big goal into manageable and actionable size. This way, you are able to tell what are the missing gaps and how to go about achieving each stage of the goals.
If you intend to start your business, you need to set your 4Ps – People, product (services), place and promotion. Who are your target market? Are they men or women? Adults or kids? Age range? What product or services? What price range are you setting? Where do you intend to sell them? Online or offline? What kind of promotion plan? … etc
Without action plan, it is hard to carry out your plans. Having them down on paper, you will know where are you doing well and where are the gaps for improvement.
Of course we do not want to waste our effort that we put in. Hence, we must make sure that the effort is relevant to the goals that we want to achieve.
If you are a businessman, you will want to know how to make every investment relevant, so that you can reach your business goals. If you are making a career switch, you would want to invest in the skills that you do not have, knowledge that needed to get to where you want. If you are currently learning Korean, you may want to watch more K-dramas and listen to K-pop to improve your ability to use the language.
Lastly, there need to be a timeline to make sure if you are progressing towards your goals.
If you are looking lose 5kg, you need to set a timeline when do you intend to achieve it. You may give yourself 5 months to do that. You may divide it by 5 months and that would mean you set to lose 1kg per month. Then you work on what would you do to lose that 1 kg within that month.
Having a S.M.A.R.T. plan towards your goal is great way to get yourself started. It is less frightening when you break down your goals into manageable bites. While we are acting on it, we should constantly evaluate and revise the plan when necessary. Stay flexible. This process of Action, Evaluation and Review will help us to identify what is working and what is not.
So get started with your S.M.A.R.T. goals today!