Tired of setting goals only to watch them roll by — undone — week after week? A goal that doesn’t get done isn’t really a goal, it’s just a wish. Success doesn’t happen by wishes. Success is defined by goals that get done — Smart Goals. Why am I an expert at setting Smart Goals? Because I’m a professional procrastinator at heart. It got so bad I was basically self-abusing, using my goals as the ammo. As a solopreneur, I had to overcome that habit. I did it with Smart Goals.
You may not be abusing yourself with your goal setting process. But if you’re feeling defeated or anxious about your growing list of undone to-do’s, this article is for you!
What are Smart Goals?
Smart Goals are goals that get done because they’re backed up by a smart strategy. There is a quote I remember from my childhood. It came from a notepad, it said: “Do it…right…now.” Worded this way it had obvious multiple meanings. I’ll break it down to make setting Smart Goals fast and easy for you.
1) Do it.
Most importantly, Make up your mind. Don’t set a goal you know you’re not going to do. In fact, don’t set a goal unless you have made up your mind to do it. If you haven’t made up your mind, don’t set the goal. You’ll just end up beating yourself up for not doing it. Let it stay a wish.
Schedule the goal. Give it a date and a time.
- Set a time you know you’ll be in the mood to do it. You know yourself. If you’re frumpy in the mornings and jazzed up in the afternoons, set important goals for the afternoon.
- Schedule a time when the smart goals themselves will have a good chance of getting done. For instance, if your goal is to eat breakfast, don’t schedule it for dinner time.
2) Do it right.
The number one most important lesson I learned in college came from a quote by Vince Lombardi: “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” You see, I studied music in college. Before that I was mostly self-taught, by ear. In college I had to learn by sheet music. I struggled. Not only to read the music but to learn it right. I would figure a piece out by ear before I could actually play it.
Impatient as I was, I would play the piece too fast, and I would play it wrong. Again, and again, and again. It took me forever to learn a piece right — because I was practicing it wrong.
As soon as I started practicing perfectly (i.e. a step at a time), I started learning some of the most difficult pieces ever written — IN NO TIME. I mean it. In literally 2 or 3 weeks I would be playing pieces I thought were impossible. It floored me. Astounded. Astonished.
The moral of the story?
Set DOABLE goals. If you can’t do your goal, break it down into smaller goals. If a goal is too big it’s more likely to be put off. Break goals down into baby steps, bite-sized chunks. If you can do the goal, great! Do it. But if you can only take a step, today — take it.
3) Do it right now.
Here’s how I overcame procrastinating and putting off goals day after day after day: I did them first. If a goal is really, truly a priority:
Do it first.
As a business owner it’s way too easy to get caught up being bizzy. ‘Bizziness’ jumps right on top of us and before we know it the day is over and goal setting suddenly becomes goal-wishing again. You want to know a little secret about bizzy work? It always manages to get done. The little bit of time you take to check off your important to-do’s will not put a crick in your busy work. Do a major goal a day, and do it first.
Since you can’t do ALL your goals “right now”, prioritize them. Keep an organized list. Hit the top of the list each day and do the most important goal first.
One last thing…
Smart Goals should feel good when accomplished. Goals will always be replaced by new goals, so remember to congratulate yourself on a job done and done well. I keep a list of all my accomplishments so I can see, YES, I am accomplishing things. It feels good — especially during times when I feel down — to know I’ve been productive, and to see how far I’ve come.
Do you have some secrets for how to set goals and accomplish them? Share in the comments below.
Ask about our Business Strategy Consulting services and how we can help you set Smart Goals and a solid plan of action for your business.
Photo credits: Cam Adams