If you’re on a journey to greatness setting strategic goals is paramount to your success. Strategic goals help us to define targets or end goals and mapping those targets to time intervals provides a step by step guide to hitting those targets successfully. If you’ve ever started a journey without a goal you may realize you’ve wandered around aimlessly until you’ve ended up somewhere. Somewhere is only good if you happen to be at the right place at the right time and end up in paradise. Even in paradise, what do you do without a goal?
On the other side of that coin if you’ve ever set a goal but fallen short, or simply quit, it’s likely that one of the following was true:
- The goal was too broad
- The goal was not measurable
- The goal was unrealistic
- The goal had no timeline
- There was no risk mitigation plan associated with the goal
If the above is true, we’ve got some tips to help you set better goals and even accomplish the impossible.
When we set goals we always start with an outcome or an intention. The goal is the result or the thing we want to obtain, in order to create a map, we need to work backward from there. There are several great ways to do this, and my personal favorite is to set what are called SMART goals. If you haven’t heard of SMART goals before the here’s the gist:
SMART Goals are – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed. SMART metrics allow you to analyze your goal and decide not only how to reach the goal but to ensure that you’ve set the right goal in the first place. Here are some questions to ask when setting these goals:
- Specific - What is the goal and Why do I want to accomplish it?
- Who is involved? Where will the goal take place; in one place or many? What are the requirements to accomplish the goal? What are the constraints of the goal? What are the risks?
- Measurable - How much money will it cost? How many resources will it require? What are the indicators that the goal has been accomplished?
- Attainable – Is this goal attainable? How exactly can it be accomplished? What are the current actionable steps to reach the target? What is the mitigation plan for associated risks?
- Realistic/Relevant – Is this worthwhile in the bigger picture? Does it align with the existing goals of the family, business, organization, or team? (Vision and Purpose are great references here)
- Timed – When will this be completed? What are the milestones that must be hit along the way to accomplish the goal by the set date?
This formula works for every goal I’ve ever set with the intention of accomplishing something. It takes a bit of upfront work, but once the goal is set you simpy maintain discipline and follow the plan. You may ask, “does this formula really help you become great?” In a way, yes. To ensure you reach extraordinary levels, you need one more key component – a stretch goal. Don’t worry it’s not an acronym, but it also isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re looking for greatness this is where you set yourself apart.
Stretch goals are goals that seem entirely impossible. The only viable solutions cost exorbitant amounts of money, time, or resources. You set out to accomplish the impossible anyway. That’s great! Now how do you plan on doing that? After you’ve made the decision that you’re going to do it, you add it to the top of your smart goals and accomplish it in chunks. One massive point that can’t go without mentioning is that impossible goals require teams of people, so find accountability partners and set triggers, reminders, and mission statements in various places all over your life to stay focused and disciplined.
In conclusion: The clearer the goals are, the easier they are to follow, and the better the celebration is when you’ve reached the summit. SMART goals are a surefire way to accomplish any goal, and when your goal is to achieve greatness you add the stretch goal into the mix to see what you’re made of. You won’t accomplish the impossible on your own so find accountability partners, set triggers and reminders to stay focused and disciplined. Revisit these metrics and track progress on a regular basis to make sure you’re on target. There are a dozen other ways to set and achieve goals, and there are more factors to accomplishing more difficult goals – a great resource that I highly recommend for more info is Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg.
Drop your comments below, stay tuned for more, and keep up the grind.