Whether or not you are a New Years’ Resolution person, I am sure that at some point this year you will set a goal. You will resolve to make some sort of change from starting something, fixing something, or stopping something. There are many resources available to help people reach goals. Here’s a new twist on the popular S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting process that is inspired by my friend, Jessica Hain. I really think you will find it helpful and that by using this method you will have more success and even more fun!
You probably know that SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Here’s my take on this acrostic.
S: Specific – make sure that you can describe what it looks like once your goal is complete. It is one thing to say, “I want to improve my health.” It is entirely different to say, “I want to run a mile in under 10 minutes,” or “I am going to complete my local Memorial Day 5k run.” To help bring specificity to your goal you can answer the 5 “W” questions: What, Where, When, Why, Who.
WHAT does success/the end result look like if you were to draw a picture of it?
WHERE will completing this goal take me?
WHEN will I work on and complete this goal?
WHY is this goal important to me?
WHO is affected by or should know about this goal?
M: Measurable – Apply metrics to your goal. This allows you to track your progress and know when your goal is achieved. This also makes your goal more specific. You can answer questions such as: How much will I spend or make? How many? And again, describe in as much detail as possible what the end result will look like.
A: Accountability – Here, most SMART goal worksheets say “Achievable.” I will deal with that with letter R. I prefer to use accountability for letter A. I prefer it because humans are hard-wired for community. We are social creatures. When we invite people into our goals and ask for accountability our odds of success improve by as much as 500%! I like those odds. So, invite a trusted friend or two into your goal setting and achieving process. Your friends can also help you set specific, measurable goals as they seek clarity on what you mean when you ask for accountability.
R: Realistic – I prefer Realistic to Relevant for a couple of reasons. If you did the above steps well, your goal is relevant, especially if it is a personal goal. For a work goal, or even a more family-oriented goal you probably want to get input when setting the Specific goal part by checking in with those WHO are likely to be affected by your goal. So I think a solid process above will get you a relevant goal, but is it realistic? While it would be nice to think that we can do and accomplish anything, we can’t. To quote Clint Eastwood as “Dirty” Harry Callahan, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
In this step, take stock of your skills, abilities, available resources, and really, focus on your natural gifts and talents.
T: Time-Bound – When do you plan on completing your goal? Put a date on it. When do you plan on working on your goal? Schedule in that time. This crucial step not only helps provide specificity, but it can also help you to avoid the “tyranny of the urgent.” If, like me, you are easily distracted from your goals by small urgent tasks that really aren’t all that important, scheduling time to focus on your goal will go a long way to keeping you on task. And fortunately, you have an accountability partner to help you with that as well!
T(2.0): Talent Focus – This was Jessica’s idea and I really like it. When you set your goals, pay attention to your top 5 CliftonStrengths® Talent Themes. Remember, your top CliftonStrengths are what you are designed to do and what you are naturally doing all of the time! Gallup’s research in this area overwhelmingly affirms that when we are applying our talents and working with our talents we are exponentially more successful.
So, when you are working on setting goals, ask yourself about the role your talents play in this goal. How will your talents help you? How can your talents specifically contribute in your efforts? How might your talents hinder you?
A lot more can be said about this topic. I really hope that this is helpful. If you want to discuss this further, learn more about your talents, and increase your level of success, mental health, and overall fun in life… let me know! Sign up for a free 30-minute coaching call on my website. I look forward to talking to you!
“CliftonStrengths” and the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are registered trademarks of Gallup, Inc. The graphic elements copyright © CoreClarity, Inc.