You’re Smart! Are Your Goals?

You’re Smart!  Are Your Goals?

As 2015 comes to a close it is time for a deep breath and sigh of relief. One more year in the history books. 365 days lived, hopefully to their fullest. Undoubtedly, many were wildly successful, some were just tolerable while others were down right icky. Regardless of how these variations shook out for each of us, the focus of our individual attention should be on our triumphs as well as our challenges and how we can start the new year stronger and do better all year long. Live, Learn, Repeat. Right?

Start with Constructive Reflection. We tend to be our own worst critic. I could have done that better. I should have tried harder…and so on. Sure, strive for greatness; but, we must manage our own expectations and measure our self-evaluation.

  • Start With Triumphs – Make a list of those things you are the most proud of from the past year!
  • Celebrate Small Successes – Triumphs don’t always mean moving mountains. Sometimes the small successes can be harder to attain and more satisfying victories than major projects.
  • Evaluate Performance Objectively – Evaluate your performance using objective criteria. Saying that this or that was good or bad is open for interpretation and simply not ok. Setting SMART goals will make this super easy.

Next, set S.M.A.R.T. Goals for the coming year. These types of goals are well known among professionals and entrepreneurs for both professional and personal growth and success. Specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound goals ensure you determine exactly what you want to accomplish, how you can reasonably accomplish it, and by when you should be able to accomplish it. Seem daunting? Feel kinda like you need to set a goal to set better goals. Don’t fret, it takes time and effort but it’s totally doable. Here are two versions of similar goals. The first is an example of a regular old run of the mill not so great goal and a second is a S.M.A.R.T. Goal:

  • Get in better shape in 2015
  • I will participate in 20 minutes of sustained cardiovascular physical activity a minimum of three times per week and limit caloric intake to 1,800 calories per day to ensure a loss of 1-2 pounds per week to attain a goal weight of 165 pounds by December 31, 2015

Hopefully, the difference in these goals is glaringly obvious. The first is vague, subjective and it is impossible to objectively measure its success or failure. Conversely, the S.M.A.R.T. Goal answers all the questions (who, what, when, where and how) and meets all the criteria to ensure this goal can be objectively measured for progress and ultimately success or failure. I chose an example of a personal goal but this process is the same for professional efforts.

Keep in mind that goal setting and evaluation are ongoing processes. Allow your list of goals to be a living and breathing document that you review often. Be true to yourself and adjustments are expected and favorable. At times, more aggressive goals may need to be tempered as we learn just how challenging they may be to attain. Others goals may need to have the bar raised to really be a challenge. Categorize your goals so you can easily manage them throughout the year. Personal and professional is an easy distinction. You can further sub-categorize goals in the manner that makes the most sense to your life and facilitates your process: financial, health, relationship etc.

Share your S.M.A.R.T. Goals in the comments below and we can all learn and grow together!