About a year ago I wrote an article about the importance of setting goals, using the term S.M.A.R.T. as a handy acronym for five important components for well-designed goals. The simple mnemonic stands for:
Specific: Create goals that are clear and well-defined. This helps you understand the why, what, when, where, who and how of achieving your goals.
Measureable: Create criteria to measure and track progress toward achieving your goals. This gives quantifiable milestones to show how far or close you are in achieving them.
Achievable: Create goals that are realistic, not too difficult or too easy. You want to stretch yourself to achieve your goals. But if your goals are too hard to reach, you may be discouraged, and if they are too easy, they may become meaningless.
Relevant: Create goals that matter and move you forward to your overall purpose. Since goals are the method in moving closer to achieving your vision, make sure they are aligned with it.
Time Bound: Create goals with a time-frame and target date. Setting a start date, end date and fixed schedule will help you prioritize, keep focused and avoid distractions.
As the new year begins, here are some tips to make your goals even more effective by making S.M.A.R.T. goals even S.M.A.R.T.E.R. (and adding to our acronym!).
Ethical: Create goals that are virtuous and achieve them honorably. In today’s world, sometimes we are pressured to achieve our goals as quickly as possible. Also, society may pressure us to make goals that are not right for us. This has unfortunately led some people to cut corners, aim for the wrong goals and achieve them in a disreputable way. Bernie Madoff, who operated the largest Ponzi scheme in history, undoubtedly achieved his goal of being wealthy, but he did it by stealing from people. Setting goals that are not proper or achieving good goals in an improper way will hurt you and possibly others around you. It may take more work and time to do it the right way, but it will benefit you in the long run by earning a solid reputation and established credibility.
Re-evaluate: Constantly assess your goals and be proactive to make sure they are in line with your true purpose. As time goes by, it can change substantially, and you want to make sure your goals change with it. If goals become stale and do not fit what you want to do in life, it can lead you away from your full potential.
Studies show that goal-setting is one of the most important keys to success in our personal and business lives. Setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals will not only help you get where you want to go in the context of your purpose, but will help you be proactive, focused and keep a genuine reputation. Your reputation can never be taken from you, it only can be given away.
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