Goals are all the rage right now. We just kicked off a new year, a successful one at that. We both have a list of goals we want to accomplish. If you don't, now is the time to create one. Maybe you have resolutions. Either way there are certain things you want do this year.
There was a point in time when I thought all the talk about goals was bs. That's right I'm being 💯 with you. I didn't use SMART goals and I didn't have to because I was knocking goals out the way, at least that's what I thought. I had this list of goals and no clear strategy to take action on them. I was confused and overwhelmed. So me being the inquisitive person that I am I did research.
I read any and everything I could find that talked about Goals. Personal, business, family, health, financial it didn't matter as long as the main topic was goals. What I discovered is I had a vague to do list not a list of goals. Something was lacking from the SMART goals formula on each and every one of my goals. When something goes wrong personally I look to business strategies for a solution. Why, because it takes out the emotion. I become the manager of my life to see why things aren't operating effectively. When I started managing my life from a business standpoint things got way better.
Here's why the list I made were not goals:
- There was no timetable
- They were vague
- Accountability was lacking
- Many of them were too big!
I knew what my goals were and what I wanted but I didn't state them clearly in way that outlined how I could get there. I needed the details! Statements like I want to be happy are just empty statements until they go through the goal setting process. Since I'm all grown up I have a new found respect and understanding of goals and the goal setting process. It is a process and one that is tied into overall planning.
Smart Goals and Proper Planning
The key to setting goals is to use SMART Goals! This helps you define your goals in away that makes them actionable.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely
I combined SMART goals with the techniques I learned from a time management workshop. The combination was magical! I was seeing instant results in my life. I'm going to give an example of my biggest goal at the time which was to be happy. Remember when I said that wasn't a goal, it was an empty statement? It was not specific. I had to ask myself some questions.
- Why am I unhappy?
I made a list of all the things I was unhappy about. There were a lot of them! Once my list was complete I analyzed it. What could I change? We're there things I had no control over? Were any of them unrealistic? Questions like these helped me narrow down my list to focus on the areas I could make an impact.
One of the items on my list of unhappy
- My job
It was a huge source of stress! My first answer: QUIT! As much as that would have made me happy, it was totally unrealistic! I was a struggling single mother, and my stressful ass job was how I got the bills paid. So I asked myself some more questions and made another list. What can I do about my job? What will make it better? What is it that I want for my career and overall future. Yes I went deep! Asking myself hard questions is what helped me better define my goals.
I had to step away and think. I needed a clear mind so I could be honest and get to the root of the issue when I felt I was ready I took out some paper and a pen and I just started writing what I wanted. I wrote until I couldn't write anymore.
Goals Need Actionable Steps
What this process led me to finding were the actionable steps I could take to improve my work situation which would increase my happiness factor! A few items on my list were to update my resume, go back to school, and find ways to eliminate stress at work. The most important thing I wrote was that I wanted to create. I wanted a job that allowed me to use my spiritual gifts to help others. Fast forward to now and my ultimate goal of having my dream job is budding into existence.
The things I highlighted on my list were realistic. These were things that I could achieve within a set time frame and I was able to manage my progress! That is why I started crushing my goals because they were SMART. You can crush your goals to by following this process. I was setting goals the wrong way I once I learned about SMART Goals and time management I was able to make monumental shifts in my life!