How to be SMART About Your Goals

Goals are necessary for achievement.

Yes, some folks can achieve great success without ever having set a goal, but they are few and far between. The idea of an overnight success grips us all at some point, but most of us get over it because we learn early on that nothing is truly an overnight success.

Today, we’ll talk a bit about SMART goals. And, I don’t just mean how to be smart about setting goals. Instead, I want you to learn how to understand SMART intentions and get them to work for you.

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Let’s look at the concept of SMART in our business life.

The experts at Smartsheet tell us that this idea reaches back to 1981. What were you doing in 1981? I was a stay at home Mom. I had my second child in ‘81 and wasn’t thinking about what I would be doing 20 years down the road. In fact, I went on to have a third child in 1983, so my life was full of diapers, and nursery school, and home. If I thought about being smart about the future, it revolved around family and how to give my children the best life ever.

And, then, they were grown and I went out into the world and…what a shock. I had little or no training for life as a business professional. I have to admit that I was not smart, not in any way. I was driven by the need to earn a living and support myself and the children, after a rather cantankerous divorce.

Back when I entered the workforce after being a homemaker for 15 years, I never imagined I would become an entrepreneur.

The decision to go out on my own came from the men I worked for. They did not value me or my expertise. The work I did for them, and this is over several jobs, was menial and insulting. They treated me with less regard than the junk mail that came through our mail slot every day.

And so I took charge of my life and I reviewed my talents and I knew I could make magic with them. Would the magic pay my bills? I was about to find out.

And, one of the things I learned, as I traversed that bumpy path of self-employment, was how to use the idea of SMART goals.

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Being SMARTer than Being Dumber

Goal setting based on SMART goes like this:

First, be SPECIFIC. Drill down. Don’t say, “My products appeal to everyone.” Define everyone.

“My products are for teenage girls who prefer the natural look of mineral based make-up.”

Therefore, your goal is to find out where these girls not only congregate, but where they spend their money. You also need to understand how much they spend on make-up, and I urge you to also consider who else is selling to them. Be specific about that, too. Your competition - who are they and why are your prospects buying from them?

Next, learn to MEASURE your results.

Measurable goals compel you to move forward, create new product, venture into new spaces; if you have a way to measure your sales and your marketing, you will realize your goals faster than someone who is just out there throwing product at people. I know measurement means numbers - how much you’re budgeting, how much you’re spending, your income, your sales, all those things that a good bookkeeper or accountant can help you with.

All of your goals should be ATTAINABLE.

This is the most important goal in the SMART idea concept, as far as I’m concerned. You can’t do the others if you have not mastered this.

Creating attainable results is not as easy as you think. Yes, you can aim high, “I’m going to make a six figure income this year,” is a worthy statement. I can see your fist bump and hear the desire in your voice when you say it out loud, as you’ve been taught to do.

But, going back to specific, how are you going to make that six figure income this year?

Attainable goals, for me, start small. First, I make a list. Then, I organize the list. Then, I note when I will do each task and how long I expect it to take.

I do this every day. Sometimes life gets in the way and I have to reorient myself (such as today - we had a power outage so I did not get this post done when I had planned to get it done).

Over time, each day’s tasks build up to the month’s overall goal. And that is how I will build my success this year. Day by day, week by week, month by month.

If I set goals I KNOW I cannot reach, because we should always aim high, I am merely setting myself up for failure. And that is a negative event that could derail me for the entire year.

Make your goals attainable. As you reach the smaller ones, you will be able to tackle the bigger ones.

All of this then becomes REWARDING.

I will go out on a limb here and say you are doing this new big idea, or revising an existing big idea, because you find it rewarding.

Whatever it is that you’re creating goals for, I can feel the happiness you have for it. You do it because you enjoy it. Making it into magic that can then make you money is just something that happens.

Of course, that’s not entirely true - the magic and money happens because of all the things we’re talking about here. However, the reward is in the accomplishment, whatever that may be.

I find working with women enormously rewarding. I find it challenging. I find it educational. For all of those reasons, I persevere and continue to be SMART about how I move forward each week.

No, I haven’t forgotten the last part of our smart focus. It’s TIME BOUND.

Your smart goals must be time bound. You must must attach a timeline to them!

Napoleon HIll is purported to have said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” I’ve read it so many times I am not sure who said it first, but we’ll give credit to Hill.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? You set a goal, you should have a deadline on it.

My goals for this blog involve at least one post a week, one book review, and one conversation. I therefore plan out each of those tasks, and put a deadline to them.

If you’re dreaming of that six figure life, or the lifestyle business that will make you both happy and well off enough not to have to count pennies, what’s your deadline? Will you have it this year? If so, how will you achieve it?

The folks quoted early on in this post have a worksheet you can download. They call it a Smartsheet and I recommend a visit to the site. They offer great examples to help you develop your own smart goals.

Sometimes it helps to work with a mentor, which is why Nurturing Big Ideas is here. We guide folks along that bumpy path and help them create the best goals, the smart goals, the specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, and time bound goals that will move their business forward.

In this case, I will quote the Borg from Star Trek fame, and say, “Resistance if futile!”

Be SMART about your talent. It’s a wondrous thing, but in and of itself, it cannot help you succeed, with the focus on goal setting.

Share some goals below. Share some successes and how they came about.

Visit our video page where our Smart Conversations with Smart Women can inspire you to take your magic into the Universe.

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