What do S.M.A.R.T goals have that New Year resolutions may not have? Every year around mid-December especially, millions of people around the world start to make New Year’s resolutions. At the same time there are millions who take the time to create their goals and actually write them down. Remember that it’s more than a cliché that “A goal is just a dream if you fail to write it down.” [This is Part I of a two- or three-part post.]
Distinction between New Year’s Resolutions and Goals
Wikipedia defines “New Year’s resolutions as, “… a secular tradition, most common in the West but found around the world, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement starting on New Year’s day.” Notice the word “promise”! Promises are not to be disregarded by any means, but in this context, let’s explore the strength to be found in well-planned and documented goals.
Different online dictionaries describe “goals” in various ways. Here are some common definitions: ‘the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.’ ‘An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe.’ I like the latter definition as it embodies parts of what are commonly referred to as S.M.A.R.T goals.
What are S.M.A.R.T Goals?
The acronym represents Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Let’s look at these more closely.
Specific: When you’re specific with your goals, you will have a clear picture in your mind and be able to translate this to paper of what your objectives are—what you’re aiming to achieve. It will also make it easy for others, especially those to whom you’re accountable, to understand. This could be a business partner, an accountability partner, like your coach. You’ll know that your goals are clear when you’ve answered: Why, What, Where, How, and Who? Here’s an example of one question to ask yourself: What will it look like when I’ve accomplished this goal?
Measurable: “I want to earn more money in 2014” is not a goal. You must state numbers and dates that you can quantify and earmark. This means that there must be mileposts along the way that you can check-off. If you’re going on a long road trip, you’d have a map with points along the way that as you check them off (even mentally), you know that it means you’re getting closer to your destination. The same is true with your goals. These mileposts may be monthly checks, or other periodic checkpoints specific to you and your business. Question: How will you know that you’ve accomplished your goal?
In Part II, we’ll discuss the other three parts of SMART goals and dive a little deeper into what other steps you can take to make sure that the goals you set for 2014 give you the desired results. It’s one thing to set overall goals, but how will you go about achieving those goals? What steps will you need to take to achieve your goals? More in the next post.
New Year’s resolutions or goals, which do you think, or have you found, bring greater results? Please share in the Comments. Thank you.