It’s December 10. Do you have your 2009 goals in order? If not, what are you waiting for? I’m not usually a nudge, but I can’t help it when it comes to goal setting.
As I discuss in Straight Talk for Success, outstanding performance is a key to success. Outstanding performers are lifelong learners; they set and achieve high goals; and they manage their time, life and stress well. Here is my take on how to set and achieve your goals.
Success begins with S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented, and Time Specified. Here’s what I mean…
• Specific – Your goals should be targeted, nor 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. As this example indicates, it is 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 your 2009 S.M.A.R.T. goals, you need to work them. Here are some ideas for working your goals.
• Write your goals. People who take the time to write their goals accomplish them more frequently that 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 your friends. 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 one of 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 point here is simple. Outstanding performance is a key to success. It begins with goal setting. December is the best time to set your goals for the coming year. If you set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific Measurable, Achievable, Results Oriented and Time Bound) goals for 2009, and then work them, you’ll be on your way to becoming an outstanding performer.
That’s my take on how to use the power of goals and goal setting to make 2009 your best year ever. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. Good luck. I hope that you truly rock in 2009. And, as always, thanks for reading.