Here are some questions you can ask:
- What do I want to see happen? What is my desired outcome?
- What are the conditions I’m facing now, and what needs to change?
- What are the/some obstacles that I can see getting in the way of change?
- Is this a long-term goal, or one that can be achieved in a short or moderate time period?
It's also important to consider why this goal is important. The who, what, when, and where are covered in the "nuts and bolts" (“SMART”) section. How will achieving this goal help you, your situation, or the people you’re working with? This is a great time to link your goal to your overall mission or dream. Example: Develop at least three coaching or therapy strategies to put on my web page that emphasize positive growth for individuals.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals, and then some:
- S = Specific: This is where you define the nuts and bolts, like who/what/when/where. To help with this, use active and direct words. Example: I will balance my financial business log every Monday before 5 PM.
- M = Measurable: This is where you’ll put the information that will tell you whether or not you’ve achieved the goal. Example: I will write and complete at least 5 new workbook pages within the course of a 7-day week.
- A = Action-Oriented: The best goals lead to action. You can't achieve your goal if you don't take action, and here is where you'll define the actions you'll take. It's important to define what you will do. Example: I will set aside 1 hour per day to focus on blog writing. I will sit down with my calendar at the beginning of the week and schedule in those blocks of time.
- R = Realistic: This is actually where a lot of goals fall down. In this category, you consider what is realistic and “do-able.” If I were to set a goal of, “I will be signed by an NBA team within 2 years and I will practice 4 hours per day at least 6 days per week,” the goal would be specific and measurable, but it would not be achievable. No matter how hard I work and no matter how well the goal is stated, I will not be an NBA player. However, I will achieve DBT certification from The Linehan Institute within two years, and will complete one certification activity every month is achievable given my skills, abilities and resources.
- T = Time Bound/Limited: Your goals are more likely to succeed if you have a target time for completion, or have specifically defined how often you will engage in certain strategies. The example goals in the “S” and “M” categories give you an idea of how you can use time strategies to help you be specific. Here’s another example: Every Monday for the next 6 months, I will take 2 hours to review my weekly and monthly goals and chart my progress in achieving those goals, for at least 90% of the days available.
5 Principles of Goal-Setting to Help You Out:
- Clarity – This is where the S.M.A.R.T. technique comes in. We want our goals to be clear, so we know what we need to do.
- Challenging – You want to hit a sweet spot here. If a goal is too easy, it doesn’t help us grow. However, if it’s too hard we end up becoming discouraged. Bottom line? We want our goals to be challenging enough to keep us motivated and easy enough for us to see some forward progress. When we see progress, we need to celebrate it too!
- Commitment – This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where self-discipline and hard work enter the picture. This is also a good place to remind yourself of the “why” or “R” part of your goal. Why are you doing this, again? Why is it important? This aspect is important, because this is what keeps you motivated
- Feedback – You want to know how well you’re doing in reaching your goal. Feedback is information related to your progress. It can come from other people, or from your own measurements of progress (remember the “M”?) If you’re receiving feedback from someone else, work to stay open to hearing what they have to say. Many of us feel defensive when we’re given feedback. In the end, it’s information for us – and realizing that can help take some of the sting out of feedback we don’t like.
- Complexity – Task complexity becomes a factor when the complexity of the task makes achieving the goal difficult (or in some cases, impossible). When the task is too complex, we tend to feel overwhelmed, which can lead to procrastination or all-out avoidance. Neither is helpful in getting us to where we want to be. If a goal seems too complex, take some time out to analyze it. If you need to, break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Breaking things down has a nice side benefit – you can more easily see your progress and you can gain a sense of accomplishment toward the overall goal.
Resources for you:
- Mind Tools: (http://www.mindtools.com/) Mind Tools is a subscription-based website, but there are lots of free articles there as well. Their articles on goal-setting are very helpful
- Free Online Library for Managers, “Effective Goal Setting”: (http://www.free-management-ebooks.com/dldebk/dlpr-goal.htm) This site has a free e-book on goal setting.
- Berkeley’s goal-setting handout: (http://hrweb.berkeley.edu/learning/career-development/goal-setting/career-plan-vision)
- While I don’t like the name, the “Dummies” series often has some good information. Their handout on setting goals is helpful: (http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/set-goals-and-objectives-in-your-business-plan.navld-810584.html)
- Free online goal-tracking from Business Management Daily: (http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/32053/setting-tracking-goals-the-best-5-free-online-tools)
- Jennifer Lee, “The Right Brain Business Plan”: Jennifer is a guru for those of us who are challenged by the black-and-white world of strict business planning. She has managed to make business planning (and thus goal-setting) a fun and enriching process. You can find her book, “The Right Brain Business Plan” on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Right-Brain-Business-Plan-Creative/dp/1577319443. Her website is at: http://www.rightbrainbusinessplan.com/.
- Leonie Dawson’s Business Site, “The Amazing Biz and Life Academy”: Leonie is one of those people who has worked *hard* to get where she is. Because her business is centered around business and personal growth, she markets her stuff through the academy. It’s pricey, but the business materials are worth it. I love her “Double Your Biz” program! (http://amazingbizandlifeacademy.com/)
The Freebies: Goal Planning Worksheets!
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All information and content on this blog is © 2016 by Dr. Laura Burlingame-Lee, Ph.D. dba "The Power of Each Other." For inquiries regarding reproduction or use for any purpose please contact me at (970) 776-6043.