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Setting and Fulfilling Goals

How can you make more progress on your goals? 

submitted by Sharon Lewis*, 1/8/18

Whether you call it a resolution or a goal, it is the season! A simple tip to increase the likelihood of achieving what you want to, is to write your goals or resolutions following the acronym “SMART” – Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound.

An example of a goal is, “I want to buy a car.” An example of a SMART goal is, “By the end of the year, I will have saved $200 a month for 12 months to put 25% down on a used car.”

This is how you get started:
Specific: A clearly described goal will help you focus your efforts and get motivated. Try and answer these questions about your goal(s):
• What is it that I want to accomplish in the next X months?
• This goal is important to me because….
• Who else is involved in making this goal a reality?
• What additional resources (e.g. people, money, equipment, location) do we need to make this goal a reality?

Measurable: Regularly assessing how you are doing helps you focus on progress. You use the information to make decisions and adjust your path along the way, allowing you to achieve better results and stay motivated. (Was eliminating eating out once a week enough to meet my car savings goal or do I need to cut out coffee too?) These measurements are indicators of performance and tell you when what you’re doing is working (or not).
Actionable: What are the steps that you’ll need to take to achieve the goal? Do you need the cooperation of anyone else? Who ‘owns’ each action or project? Three to five actions per goal, per person, is about as much as the mind can grasp at one time. Accomplish the highest priority actions and then add new ones.
Realistic: There’s nothing more disheartening than a goal not met because it wasn’t based in reality. It’s good to create stretch goals (things that you have to work hard to achieve) but they do need to be attainable. With an achievable goal you’ll be able to outline the steps to answer, “How can I achieve this goal?” You will be able to look at your current resources and identify constraints that can be addressed to make your goal possible.
Time-bound: Every goal, and every action leading to a goal, needs a target date so that you have a deadline to work toward. This will help you prioritize these actions against your day to day activities. Some larger goals may also need milestones or incremental steps along the way.

Lastly, increase your chances of achieving your goals by writing them down and communicating them! People who don’t write down their goals tend to fail more often than those who have a written plan. Your written goals are like your GPS- you know where you want to go and now you know what road you’ll take to get there. If you have others that need to cooperate for you to meet your goal (like family members) make sure you communicate the goals to them and get their buy-in. Why is this goal important to you, and to them? If meeting the goal is all on you, try using a friend as an accountability partner- someone who will check in on how you are doing and help keep you on track.

To make it more likely that you will achieve what you want in 2018: set SMART goals and actions, communicate them, measure them, track progress and don’t forget to celebrate success!

* Sharon K. Lewis of AdviCoach (Ivoryton) helps business owners take an objective look at their business and identify actions to achieve their vision for the business. Check out the AdviCoach website HERE.

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