How SMART are your goals?

Goals are on my mind. Soccer goals, hockey goals, rugby goals, squad goals….obviously top level athletes set goals and they have a coach and a swat team of assorted professionals to help keep them on track. But what about us resource-poor folks in the creative industries who are often juggling the work of three people?

Have you ever set a goal and wondered why it didn’t ‘stick’? I have. Plenty in fact. How often have you said something like, ‘this year I’m going to save money to go overseas” or “next month I’m going to get fit” or (my fave) “I’m going to stress less!”. I’ve made heaps of sweeping statements like these (especially on New Year’s Eve) and wondered why nothing ever eventuated. The intention was always there but it was more like a spoken-word wish than a concrete, achieveable goal. But now that I know there’s a bit of a process to setting goals that actually work, I’m pretty fond of goals.

Next time you set a goal, consider if it's SMART. And by that I don’t mean intelligent! Is your goal:

SPECIFIC – Is it specific or on the vague side? The devil is in the detail. Using stress management as an example a general goal would be, “I will stress less”. But a specific goal would might be “Starting today, I will practice one stress management technique a day for one month.” You can even get more specific and name your stress reduction technique (exercise, meditation, setting clear boundaries around being available at home after work and so on) and when you'll practice (in the morning before work, before bed etc)

MEASURABLE – Can you measure the outcome? How will you know when you’re less stressed? Will you measure your stress levels across days, weeks or months?

ACHIEVEABLE / ACTION – Is your goal actually achieveable? What specific actions do you need to take to make your goal happen? What support do you need?

RELEVANT - Is your goal actually relevant to you and your life or a projection of what someone else wants you to achieve? Make sure your goal is relevant to your life.

TIMED – What is the timeframe and is it achievable with everything else you’re trying to juggle? Do you need to break the goal down into smaller goals? Setting a realistic, flexible and achieveable timeframe that is not open-ended will help you reach your goal. 

Sharing a goal is a great way to get moral support. It also helps with accountability if you have a buddy to help keep you on track.