“If it doesn’t work force it! It probably needs to be replaced anyway.” – Anonymous
“My boy’s wicked smart.” Morgan – from Good Will Hunting.
Lots of people have great goals, great dreams, and great ideas. We often fall into the trap that if we are doing a lot of work that we must be making progress. Being “incredibly busy” makes us feel important and gives us a sense of purpose. This logic does serve a meaningful purpose but it’s not the greatest way to attain goals. The most successful people and organizations focus on working smarter not harder. The “chicken with its head cut off” mentality makes us busy and makes us feel important but usually doesn’t get the job done.So what’s the solution to this trap we often fall in when trying to get something done? The answer: SMARTER, not HARDER goal setting strategies. SMARTER is a simple, specific strategy that breaks goals down, establishes a plan, sets deadlines, and simply gets the job done. It has use for individuals, businesses, teams, and is applicable over a wide range of goals.
Let’s get started. In the spirit of Chunking (see blog post “Breaking Up Is Easy Do” January 24, 2014.) we’ll break this down and get started. SMARTER is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timed, Evaluated, and Repeated as needed.
Here’s a template to follow:
SPECIFIC-does your goal state and specific terms what you are trying to achieve? If your goal is too large chunk it down into manageable, smaller, sub goals.
MEASURABLE-how will you and others know if progress is being made? How can you quantify this?
ATTAINABLE-is your goal realistic? Do you have to depend on anyone else? What factors might prevent you from achieving it? Is there a way to reframe the goal so that it depends on you and not others?
RELEVANT-why is this goal important to you? How will this goal affect your life and others? Emotion is important here, as we are an emotional species, and these questions will play a huge role in pushing us along when things get challenging.
TIMED-when will the goal be reached? What are the deadlines? Remember “A dream is a goal without a deadline.” Properly set deadlines are great motivators along the way to attaining a goal.
EVALUATED-occasionally take stock in where you are at in this process. Don’t be afraid to make changes as needed. The goal is a specific OUTCOME, not merely following some template.
REPEATED AS NEEDED-review, readjust, reassess etc. Be flexible and willing to adjust and adapt to get the job done.
Let’s take a simple example of weight loss. Many people set out to lose weight with vague wishy washy goals that are too global in nature. For example, “I want to look better,” is too vague.I want to lose 15 pounds or I want to get under 20% body fat are more in line with the SMARTER philosophy. As you can see specifically stating a weight loss goal in this manner makes it fit the model.
Other examples of goals more likely to be achieved are:
I’ll I’ll join the gym and workout three times a week for the next three months.
We will set aside 45 minutes per day to talk with each other for the next three weeks.
I will deduct 10% of my income to put into my retirement account for the next three years.
Take a moment and come up with your own examples. What might you be able to accomplish if you took a more thoughtful approach toward some of the things you’d like to accomplish in your life?
A big part of all of this is YOU HAVE TO WRITE IT DOWN! Writing goals out and looking at them in your own handwriting does something magical. It becomes a call to action from the best motivator you could ever have-YOU! Bottom line is this is the only person that can truly get you to do ANYTHING!
Begin using this any time you trying to get something done that you find challenging. Before giving up on the idea, break it down, write it out, and take a look at it. Breaking goals down in a SMARTER format makes goals seem much more realistic and attainable. You’re more likely to succeed if you expect to succeed.
Break it down, and get going!
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