How to be SMART when setting goals

by: Robin

Remember those dreaded interview questions:

“What are your 5 year goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

These questions always used to freak me out. Shoot, I didn’t know what I was going to have for dinner that night let alone know what I would be doing in 5 or 10 years!

Then one day a wise friend asked me, “What don’t you want to do? And where don’t you want to be in 5 years?” Now, that made me really think! Evaluating what I didn’t want made what I did want become clearer – super clear in fact!

This same friend explained to me the importance of goals and why having them makes you not only accountable, but they make things attainable.

When I was at Dogeared, goals are what kept me focused and excited about each day and they helped me keep my team (and me) on track and inline with the bigger picture. The most exciting part was seeing the goals become reality! Once I set a goal at the beginning of the year to gain TWO more key accounts (department store or large chain stores). Goal setting is powerful and instead of just TWO accounts that year I brought in 6 new key accounts. It was amazing!

I don’t know about you, but I love checking things off of my TO DO list and there is nothing better than checking off a goal! It's that simple. I suggest setting goals for career/business, personal and health. You are creating the life you want and it will affect every area.

It is essential to be SMART about creating your goals. In this context SMART is an anagram for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Let’s talk about a specific goal Let’s say that you want to generate more revenue. You are starting with an attainable number of x amount. For this exercise, we use the $120,000 a year in revenue.

Specific: vague goals lead to even vaguer results. If you want to generate $120,000 of revenue in a year you will need to generate $10,000 a month. Clearly state that.

Measurable: a monetary goal is very measurable. You can measure how you are getting to the $120,000. Break it down into chunks: monthly, weekly and daily. It takes the anxiety out of it. It’s harder to measure something vague like “make more money” so be clear and measure/track your results.

Achievable: make sure you are setting a realistic goal that also stretches you. In the case of numbers, if you have no sales, $10,000 a month might seem like a lot of revenue. Therefore you can start smaller. The reverse is also true. If you are already booking $10,000 a month, setting a goal next month for $11,000 might not be too big of a stretch.

Relevant: adjusting your goals as you go is important so that your goals are relevant to the bigger vision. If you have changed direction or have already blown your goals out of the water, than adjust as you go along so that you can continue to “Flourish & Thrive” (had to do it).

Time-Bound:  Make sure that when you are creating goals, you attach a timeline to them. One of the powerful things about setting goals and intentions at the beginning of a year is that there is a specific start and end date. You can do the same with any goal you have.

Action Step: Set some of your own goals

  1. Take just 30 seconds to brainstorm words and ideas that connect you to your overall business and life vision. See what comes up. Start now!
  2. Write your own SMART goals using the strategy above.
  3. Review your goals regularly and make adjustments when and if necessary.
  4. Place your goals somewhere visible so you are constantly reminded.
  5. Evaluate your goals. Dreaming big is awesome, but make sure you are staying grounded in realistic and attainable goals. Setting the bar too high can lead to abandoning your vision.
  6. Track your progress and adjust when needed.

We want to hear from you. How has setting goals helped you succeed in business and in life? What do you struggle with when setting your goals? Tell us in the comments below.

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ATTN: Jewelry designers, check out how @Flourish_Thrive is helping us be SMART in our biz http://bit.ly/O9Kg7D

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  6. Dianne Logarta on August 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

    This is really good post! Thanks Robin! I have heard about this during college but I could not really see how I could apply it to myself. After reading, I realized that I needed this in my life and I should begin right now. Being SMART isn’t just for the entrepreneurs out there. But people who want to succeed in life, in general, need this too!

  7. JEAN on August 24, 2012 at 4:44 am

    This is one great read! I’ll keep this in mind the next time I find myself needing to come up with goals. They need to be SMART indeed!

  8. Abyooda on October 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Like your post alot Robin, yes working smart needs these kinds of knowledge, the r for relevant is the best point over all, because you must always compare yourself now to your future vision and ask yourself did you get closer to your vision today?

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