5 Steps to Perfecting the Art of Goal Setting

Goal setting is critical for any success-oriented person. Having goals represents challenge in its most positive form.

You may have heard of the S.M.A.R.T. goals rule, but very few people put this into practice.

The S.M.A.R.T. rule indicates that for your goals to be achieved they must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Study every aspect of your life from health, career, finance, relationships and social/leisure time.

Once you have identified an area to focus on, you should start by making a list of goals within that focus area. As you slowly achieve these goals, they should bring you closer to who you want to be and what you want to achieve – this achievement is known as self-actualisation (Maslow’s final stage in the hierarchy of needs).

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” —Andrew Carnegie

Step one: Be specific about your goals. Write it out and categorise it. Have personal goals and professional goals.

Professional goals include your education and career – your degrees, job, finances, status, power and money. These are objective. You have derivatives to measure these.

Personal goals would include love, confidence, spending time with your family, kindness, drive and strength. These are subjective. You cannot measure these, although in some cases you can put measure your frequency to these i.e., how many times you helped your child with their homework this week or showed a partner you love them.

Step two: Use a metric system to record your progress. Once you have established what data you can use to track your progress specifically involved with your goal, it is time to begin measuring. This way you have tangible evidence of your successes. Keep this metric system simple, you do not want to get caught up in the intricacies of it and lose focus of the main goal you are trying to achieve. The measuring system you use would depend on your goal(s), however, a few examples include:

  • A scale i.e., 1-10 about how satisfied you are with the outcome/way you have achieved it.
  • Create a calendar chain i.e., mark off your achievement/completion each day on the calendar, in essence creating a chain of success.
  • There are multiple apps you can download for your phone (or gadget of choice) to help you measure and track your performance.
  • Revenue monitoring (or any increase in followers, likes etc. depending on the goal itself)

Step three: Make your goals attainable. Consider your limitations. It should be possible for you to reach that goal, and in order to accomplish this you should set goals that are realistic.

For example, if your goal is to increase your Facebook page following by 5 000 in one month, this goal does not seem attainable and should perhaps be given a time frame of 6 months. Other factors you would need to take into consideration when setting your achievable timeline is if you have the resources i.e., a social media team/person dedicated to this and/or what the ad budget is that you’re willing to put behind it.

Step four: Ensure that the goal you have set is relevant. It needs to be of significance, or it will become superfluous. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What does this goal mean to me?
  • If I achieve this goal, will it ultimately lead me closer to achieving my greater goals?
  • Is my goal realistic?
  • Do I have the resources, such as time or money, to achieve this goal?

Step five: Set a timeline. Have an end date for your efforts. Deadlines make clear what we are expected to deliver and when. This means that you can take control of each step in achieving your goals by setting a time frame to it. When your goal is time bound you hold accountability to achieve it in the time given. The same ‘deadline’ process is most likely applied to all of your work tasks, so why should it not work just as well for your goal setting and achieving said goals?

Setting goals does not mean striving for something extraordinary. Simple goals are no less important than big ones. It is crucial to our personal and professional success to have objectives and desires we would like to accomplish.

Striving toward a goal and accomplishing it is an incredibly satisfying and rewarding experience. We all know we need to set goals in order to grow and fulfil our ultimate need for self-actualisation. You have been given the simple steps to perfect the art of your goal setting – now it’s up to you to put these steps into action and start S.M.A.R.T.’ly setting your goals.

If you feel you need more guidance or you’d like to see and hear more about S.M.A.R.T goal setting, have a look at this concise Youtube video for more – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-SvuFIQjK8