Outstanding performance begins with S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, and Time Specified.
Specific – Your goals should be targeted, not broad and general. They should be unambiguous and explicit.
Measurable – You should be able to tell quickly and easily if you’ve met your goal. Develop a set of criteria that will be indicative of success or failure in meeting each of your goals.
Achievable – Set goals that are challenging but not incredibly difficult to achieve. A challenging goal is motivating, an impossible one is demotivating.
Results Oriented – Focus on results; avoid the activity trap. Your goals should focus on the results you want to achieve, not the activities you will undertake to get there. For example, “improved presentation skills” is a result; “participating in a presentation skills training program” is an activity. It’s possible to complete activities and not achieve the desired result.
Time Specified – Set deadlines for achieving your goals. Well-developed goals come with time limits.
Once you have developed a set of S.M.A.R.T. goals, you need to work them. Here are some ideas for accomplishing your goals and becoming an outstanding performer:
Write your goals. People who take the time to write their goals accomplish them more frequently than people who don’t.
Keep your goals with you. In your wallet, on a clipboard, on your screen saver. In this way, they’ll be a constant reminder of what you are going to achieve.
List at least one reason you want to achieve each goal. These reasons will help you stay focused when you get tired and frustrated and begin asking yourself questions like, “Why am I working so hard on this?”
Share your goals with people with whom you are close. These folks can be a big help in achieving your goals. Goals become more real when you share them with others. Goals that you don’t share are merely aspirations.
Talk about your goals at social and networking functions. The help you need to achieve one or more of your goals can come from some surprising places. You never know who might be the one person who can offer the assistance it takes for you to get over the top on one or more of your goals.
Focus on your goals several times a day. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now helping me achieve one of my goals?” If the answer is no, stop what you’re doing and do something that will help you reach your goals.
Stay balanced by creating goals in all areas of your life: career, business, personal, family, hobbies, health. These goals will help guide you to where you want to go.
Have congruent goals. Make sure your goals are congruent with one another. Conflicting goals create undue stress. If you have a work or career goal that is going to take up 60 to 80 hours a week of your time, it will be pretty difficult to realize a goal of running a marathon. You simply won’t have time to train.
Consider the sacrifices. What you might have to forego or give up in order to reach your goals. This could be things like family or hobby time. Ask yourself questions like, “Is this goal important enough for me to give up time with my kids or my weekly yoga class?”
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people follow the advice in Tweet 22 in Success Tweets. “Set and achieve S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound.” Once you set S.M.A.R.T. goals, work them. Focus on them. Do whatever it takes to achieve them. Setting and achieving S.M.A.R.T. goals is some of my best career advice.