For the next five weeks, I am going to do a series on how to create SMART goals. Each week I will talk about a specific aspect of what should be included in SMART Goals.
WAY back in December I wrote a post about the one thing you needed to do before you set any New Year’s Goals. At the time, I had NO IDEA that my heart, research, and education would lead me straight back to this topic. So, if you have haven’t read that post, stop and go do that first. Ok, good, you are back. Now that you know you should have a mission/vision I highly recommend getting that handled before moving on to SMART goals. It just makes sense. You have to know your destination before you can set specific goals on how to get there. It also just happens that this semester I spent even more time working on career development. As a result, I found yet another amazing tool for mission statements, besides the Steven Covey tool I mentioned in the December article that you just finished reading. With your mission statement now finalized (and possibly framed for long-term motivation and focus), let’s get started.
“S” is for Specific
I think by default we tend to be vague with our goals. After all, this gives us an easy way out. We can always use the vague destination as to the reason we didn’t arrive. If we don’t know where we are going it is much easier to blow it off if we get lost along the way. For instance, “My goal is to get healthy.” I believe this goal is the least achieved goal on the planet and rightfully so since it is one of the most vague goals on the planet. What is really meant by the term “get healthy”? Is it drink more water, exercise more, eat more greens, eliminate sugar,? And I believe by the time we finish our exercise on being specific we will discover even those goals are not specific enough.
The 5 “W’s”
Being specific with our goals is all about the 5 “W’s”- Who, what, where, when, and why.
- WHY? – First of all, because you took the time to do your mission statement you know your why. If you are considering a goal that doesn’t line up with your “why” then you need to do one of two things- reevaluate your “why” or drop the goal.
- WHAT? -Broad goals do not allow us to reach our goals. I think it is best to refine a broad goal to a more specific “what” before moving on. Here it is important to decide “what” exactly you want to accomplish.
- WHO? – Whom does the goal involve? While stating yourself is obvious, it is also important as it adds accountability. Don’t forget, however, to include others that might be involved in the goal as well.
- WHERE? – While not necessary for all goals, a location can clarify a goal in some instances.
- WHEN? – this isn’t to measure the goal (we will do that in the next step), but more of an over-arching time frame for goals that will likely evolve.
A Bonus “W”!
- Which? – I highly recommend adding which resources you will be using to achieve your goal.
Now that we have gone over what to include in your goal to be specific, it’s time to get started. And remember, right now we are laying the groundwork for the free email course I am doing this summer.