How To Set Goals To Get Results (Part 2)
Your no frills guide. Part two, time frame and the managers favourite acronym, SMART
Note — this is the second in a two part post, read part one first here
Goals vary on a continuum between “easy peasy” , “I can do this with a bit of work”, “this will be a big push” and “it’s sh*t your pants time!”
Ideally you will only have one goal in one area at any one time (e.g. just one health/wellbeing goal, one career/money goal etc…). This is so that you can remain focused and not get distracted on too many competing priorities.
You will want to set your goal at the “I can do this with a bit of work” level. This will mean that it is not too far ahead in the future, or too near in the present. This is because when you set a very distant goal, it is really easy to become overwhelmed with the enormity of the task. It can make you feel anxious and you start to doubt yourself. Similarly you may think that because you have lots of time you don’t need to do anything today, therefore you procrastinate and actually delay starting.
On the other hand, when you set a goal that can be achieved almost immediately, it is too easy and therefore doesn’t feel that rewarding.
A goal that takes between 90–100 days to achieve is the optimum level for balancing motivation and reward.
So although your ultimate goal may take longer than this to achieve (e.g. writing a novel), your whattamug! goal asks you to commit to what you can do in the next three or so months (e.g. how many pages could you write?).
You probably know what SMART goals are, they are a favourite in business speak among management-y types. Nevertheless for all their groan-worthy buzzwordiness, they are useful checklist to ensure that you have worded your goal effectively. Here is a SMART summary (check out MindTools here if you want to do some further reading)
Specific — this is not the time to make airy-fairy, woolly nonsense talk like you might do in a job interview… Precision is the key. What exact outcome you going to achieve?
Measurable — you need to be able to measure your success at the end of the goal period. How else will you know if you have actually achieved what you said you are going to achieve?
Achievable — you will have to be able to physically achieve your goal. A can do goal can be worded in terms of what you can influence (e.g. I will apply for X jobs) as opposed to something that may be due to more luck or circumstance (e.g. I will receive an invitation to one interview). Which method works best for you?
Relevant — is this something that fits with your current situation? Is this the right time for you? Are there any conflicts in other areas of your life that might prevent you from working toward this goal, e.g. do you really want a promotion if you are thinking of starting a family?
Time based — Something that can be done “some day” is something that is never done. What can you do in the next 90–100 days?
Please note that the following examples are to give you ideas. They are all relative because everyone starts at a different point, therefore they will be at a different point in 90 days time. These are just to give you an idea of how an effective goal can be worded.
- I will be X kg by Ytime (3 months from now). Note healthy weight loss is around 0.4–0.9kg, or 1–2lb a week
- I will have 1,000 Instagram followers by X time (3 months from now)
- I will have invested £2,000 by X time (3 months from now)
- I will have passed my grade 5 guitar exam by X time (3 months from now)
- I will be able to touch my toes by X time (3 months from now)
Congratulations, you are now a goal setting pro! You have learnt the why’s and the what’s of goal setting and next week you are going to start thinking about the how. How you are going to actually do what you said you are going to do?
I know you have taken in a LOT of information and so as a reminder and a summary you can click here to download your free goal setting infographic.
Thank you for reading! 😃 If you have enjoyed this, please consider clapping or sharing my post. Let me know in the comments below, what is your goal and what will you achieve in the next 90 days?
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