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The Importance of Setting Smart Goals

Setting Smart Goals for both your business and your life is highly important and has a direct link to how successful you are in your business, as well as your life.

Now, before you start panicking because you’ve never written a business objective or goal in your life…and actually, you have NO idea what a ‘smart’ one is…just relax. They really are quite easy to do!

Remember the last time you got into your car, or hopped onto a train, plane…or any other mode of transport for that matter? Well, before you did that you knew exactly where you wanted to go, didn’t you? That was goal setting: setting yourself a goal of getting to your particular destination.

A business objective or goal is no different. You need to know where you’re going. You need to set some goals! Now, it’s no good saying that your goal is to be a mega-millionaire with your own TV show in the next two months – if you’ve only just started!

Objectives and goals have to be realistic. This is where the ‘smart’ bit comes in. There’s a little acronym that says objectives/goals have to be SMART.

So What Exactly is the Definition of SMART Goals?

The definition of SMART is:

Specific…Measurable…Achievable…Relevant or Realistic…Timely

Let’s look at each one in turn.

Specific: There should be no doubt when you have reached your objective. For example, “My goal is to get to London”. Or, “My goal is to earn £3,000″

Measurable: Can you measure your goals? The two examples above are both Specific but not particularly measurable.

For instance, where in London are you heading? It’s a big place! Will you have achieved your goal the minute you reach a London postcode, or were you headed towards somewhere more specific and more measurable? For example, Selfridges in Oxford Street or Harrods in Knightsbridge (great shopping in either!). People who set smart goals obviously become smart shoppers too!

And how will you measure earning £3,000? Is that £3,000 in total at any time? £3,000 a year? A month? A week? A day?!

Perhaps your specific goal is to be free of debt. What does that mean? What are the numbers behind that? Is it to clear a £100 overdraft…or to clear the £200K mortgage and £40,000 worth of credit cards and loans?

This is the part of the definition of SMART where we quantify our objectives so that we can measure our achievements against them.

Achievable: Can you achieve your goal with your current circumstances/resources/skills? If my goal was to become a brain surgeon (both specific and measurable), do I personally have the resources to achieve it? Hmmm. Well, I don’t have the qualifications…but I could take those. However, I’m actually quite squeamish and, although I’m fascinated by how the body works, I really don’t want to be poking around in people’s heads. So, no, not that achievable for me to do.

If there are some things that you can do, skills that you can learn, people you can meet to help you get to your desired goal then that’s OK. But, if it’s not actually within your personal resources to achieve it, then it’s not an achievable goal.

Your goal may require you to work 10 hours a day. But if you have young children (I have two, so I have first hand experience of this!) then it’s just not going to happen, unless you work late into the night.

NB Becoming financially debt free may seem like it’s unachievable..but it IS achievable for anyone given time and effort.

Realistic/Relevant: The definition of a SMART goal should probably have two ‘R’s in it as we have a choice now. How realistic and/or relevant is your goal?

You want to be earning £3,000 a month? Great!

You want to be earning it next month, when you’re earning £300 a month now? Not so realistic!

You’re not at all interested in money? Then this goal would not be relevant to you.

If you need £3,000 to pay off your credit cards – then it’s entirely relevant.

Give some thought to how long your goals will take to reach. Earning £3,000 a month within the next 12-18 months would be far more realistic. So would becoming debt free within the next 5 or 10 years. I’m not saying that you can’t have big dreams and high hopes. Or that people don’t achieve their goals incredibly quickly. For the most part though, we mortals have to set a realistic path.

But it’s your decision. Don’t let me stop you. Just don’t set yourself up for disappointment. It’s far better to set high goals and hit them earlier, than set yourself unrealistic goals and be upset because you didn’t achieve them.

Timely: Put a (realistic) date on the end of your goal. For example, to earn £3,000 by 31st December 20XX.

If you haven’t achieved your goal/objective by this date, then you’ll need to look at why you haven’t achieved it. And adjust your goals and plans accordingly.

The definition of SMART goals means that you can write great and meaningful goals for yourself. Ones that you can get excited about, and work hard to achieve!

Writing Smart Goals is a balancing act. You need to look at the definition of SMART as a whole: all the elements of it interlink with one another to give you a well balanced goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Realistic, and Timely. In other words, a SMART Goal!

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Just to let you know…I am running a free live webinar on “How to increase your turnover by 10 times in Six months” on Wednesday 27th October at 8.30pm BST.  Full details and booking can be found here: http://www.merriemarketing.com/increase_turnover.html

Please do come and join me!

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Have a great week,
Kim.