How to Make Goal Setting Work for You in 2019
Over the past decade and a half, I have been retained by CEOs and high-level executives to coach them and provide them with advice and guidance, which ideally leads to higher, superior performance. Much of this executive and organizational work revolves around setting goals and achieving them. Some of these goals are centered around longer time frames of five to seven years, while others are annual and quarterly. I want to utilize this month’s article space to pass on some information you may find useful as you ponder what you would like to achieve with this coming year of 365 spaces of time each equaling 24 hours.
First of all, you need to have a brainstorming session with yourself to determine what outcomes you would like to achieve this next year. During this session, you do not want to critique or question what you write down. You need to allow your mind to roam free and undisciplined while you dump down on a large sheet of paper all your ideas. Once you have them all down, go through and place a “1” by the items you feel you can accomplish in a one-year time frame.
Next, all of your “1” items must pass through five SMART filters. This involves getting as much information as possible on what you want to accomplish. The power is always on the side of the person with the best information. Once you learn and practice the SMART goal setting process that I’m about to outline for you, you too will accomplish some success and hopefully develop the habits to push you into forward momentum. SMART is an acronym for the five steps of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based goals and is one of the most effective tools used by high achievers to reach their goals consistently.
The “SMART” model of goal setting:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Action-Oriented
R = Realistic
T = Time-Specific
Once you have all your items as specific as possible, they are measurable, you can take action on them and can realistically achieve them in a one-year time frame, you are ready to map out a direction to accomplish each one of your SMART goals on your list. This involves setting some process goals. Remember this key thing about your list of goals, they are always appearing to us to be obtained in the future. Sometimes, that becomes a hindrance to us, as we will on occasion continue to push them into the future rather than taking action on them in the present. We need to adopt the mindset that time is precious, and we do not have an unlimited supply of it, as a matter of fact, once we used our present time, it’s gone never to return, so our future time is actually very precious and limited rather than vague and unlimited.
So with each goal on our list, we also need process goals that focus on the actions we need to take daily. It’s important to set process goals for every SMART goal on your list. It is way too easy to set goals that are far away up to 6 or 9 months away with delayed action, which tells our brain we have unlimited future time to take action to achieve them. Once your brain is trained to delay, it thinks that is the repeated and required action. Just keep pushing it off! Skipping a day leads to skipping another and another and another. Your brain is happy because we’ve trained our brain that this is the required action.
Your process goals should be the immediate triggers that put you in action on a daily basis (or weekly or monthly) to move you closer to achieving the time-specific deadline on your goal. These actions will provide you a sense of direction and ensures action is right in front of you to put you on track to achievement. Your SMART defined goals indicate for you the ultimate flag at the summit of your mountain and process goals asks you to work on the goal each day and also to have a sense of motivation and action to cover the required distance up the side of the mountain. Process goals also help you avoid getting demotivated because of action appearing so far in the future. If you take the time to run your goals through the SMART filter, get them well defined, then design the appropriate process goals to help you take daily action, this should help you reach higher performance in the coming year!
This article was written by Tony Richards, an Organizational & Executive Development expert & CEO of Clear Vision Development Group, a leadership, strategy & business advisory firm in Columbia Missouri. He is one of INC Magazine’s Top 100 leadership speakers & thinkers. His firm’s website is www.clearvisiondevelopment.com. Follow Tony on Twitter @tonyrichards4.
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