Properly set goals are important to help us reach our dream. Designing how we arrive at the goal is a crucial step in planning. Planning takes time and is vital to good time investment.
I encourage you to use the S.M.A.A.R.T. way to make tackling your goals with more ease. Several different time management experts use this acronym with different twists. In this version, the letters stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Accountable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Planning goals the S.M.A.A.R.T. way produces clarity and creates momentum. Let’s consider how to apply each of these steps to your project, idea, book, etc., defined by your dream.
Don’t become overwhelmed with the depth of this approach. You may think it is much too involved. Remember, even though each area is somewhat detailed, I want you to be brief, yet clear enough that it gives you direction. You can use single words or incomplete sentences to design the plan. It is a simple guide for you.
Following this approach, you will be able to use your time to max out the profit of your investment.
The specific part of the goal looks at the What, When, Where, Who, Which, and Why. As you can see, it deals with the specifics, the details.
- What defines your target. What are you doing? What are you trying to achieve with your project?
- When answers the timing question. When is the time frame that you desire to get this done?
- Where identifies location. Where do you want to be or need to be to fulfill the goal?
- Who answers the question of inclusion. Who are the people you need to help you achieve the goal? Will you need a team of people or will you be able to reach this goal alone?
- Which deals with the items that you will need. Which tools, resources, software, etc., do you need to arrive at the outcome you desire?
- Why gives the reason. Why is this goal important to you? The “Why” will help you push through difficult times.
Specific goals are measurable. Will you measure time, space, or quantity? Will the measurement be objective or subjective?
To measure the future impact with accuracy you need to have a clear picture of the current position.
Set a reachable goal. If goals are unreasonable and often missed, then you are setting a target that is too difficult. Regular failure will move you to abandon your goal and feel justified in doing so. The reality is that the single step was too complex. Do not push yourself to meet one huge goal, but choose instead to reach several smaller goals.
Goals are there to help you succeed. One after another, moving step by step, you want to be able to consistently make progress. The size of your goal is not as important as forward motion.
Establish an approach to hold yourself accountable. Share each stage of the process with an accountability partner as you move through your plans. It is amazing how helpful and encouraging this person can be.
Determine if a goal is relevant. Is what you are accomplishing closely connected and helpful to reaching your dream. Relevance helps minimize getting sidetracked by other interesting ideas.Here are some suggested steps to test if something is relevant.
Here are some suggested steps to test if something is relevant.
1. Is the item directly related to your immediate goal and overall dream?
2. Is the item’s completion necessary to meet the goal?
3. Using a scale of one to five, with one being the highest, rank the importance of the tasks to complete in the project. Focus on the top priorities first.
4. Ask, “If this part did not get done, how would it hurt the project?” A low impact may show that this part is not relative.
You need to set a deadline. Be realistic but push yourself. Also, pace yourself. For years I wanted to complete a significant project and kept failing. I discovered that I allotted too much time. By setting a tighter deadline I was more motivated. The shorter time restraint helped me to push through the project more quickly.
Use a quality goal to guide you to achieving your dream and being an excellent time investor. Download a PDF form of the S.M.A.A.R.T. Goals Guide below.