A Guide to Great Goal Setting
How smart are your goals?
Want to get ahead? Not sure how? Then you need to set goals. Without them, you'll lack focus and direction. But to achieve your goals, you need to know how to set them. So, let's get started.
Firstly, write down your goals and categorize them into long-term big picture goals and the short-term smaller goals that will help you reach them. This will help you stay focused and provide a road map for success.
Next, make sure your goals are SMART. In other words, they are:
- Specific. Use the five Ws, setting out exactly what you want to achieve, why you want to do it, who needs to be involved, where and when.
- Measurable. How and when will you know if you have achieved your goals?
- Achievable. Your goals, while stretching or challenging, should still be realistic.
- Relevant. All goals need a clear purpose or benefit. So, the outcome should relate to you or your team's work roles or aims.
- Time-bound. Your goals need to have specific deadlines to ensure timely completion. Think: what can be done today, in a month's time, in a year?
So, make sure you give all your goals the SMART treatment.
Being accountable to others makes you more likely to stick to your goals. So, share them with people who can help you. For example, you manager, a trusted colleague or mentor. Or, consider pairing up with a goal buddy. Staying motivated on your own can be tough but together you can encourage and push each other on toward success.
Keep checking your progress to stay on track. You can do this daily, weekly or monthly depending on your goals. Each time you review a goal ask yourself, "What's the next step I need to take toward achieving this goal?"
We often put off doing tasks that will help us achieve our goals because we see them as hard work. Try turning tasks into games or challenges and rewarding yourself with little treats every time you complete them. You'll soon start looking forward to your goal tasks - no bad thing!
Follow these five simple (SMART) steps and you will be well on your way to achieving your goals.
To see how good you are at goal setting, see the self-test that accompanies this video.