“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants and the burning desire to possess it.” ~ Napoleon Hill
As the year draws to an end and we look ahead at the coming year and what goals we will achieve, we must first realize our definiteness of purpose. I’ve always loved baseball great, Yogi Berra. Yogi had a way of putting things into some sort of twisted perspective that made perfect sense. Such is the case with when he uttered these words of wisdom; “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else”. What the baseball sage was saying in his tongue-in-cheek way is exactly what Napoleon Hill was saying, we must know our definiteness of purpose – we must know where we want to go – before we can map out our course.
As you finalize your goals for the year ahead, some meditation is in order. I know alone time can be difficult to come by during the holiday season when we are often surrounded by friends and family, but it is imperative that we do so if we want to maximize our chances of achieving the goals we set for ourselves.
One of the most popular tools of today when it comes to goal setting and planning is the use of the acronym SMART. The first component of the SMART system is SPECIFIC, and that’s what Nap Hill referred to in his quote. There must be a definiteness of purpose and we must know exactly and precisely what we want to accomplish before we can begin to have any chance of success. If we don’t know ‘specifically” what our goals are, we will surely end up someplace else.
Specific – Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do. Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model. WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build etc. WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish? HOW are you going to do it? (By…) Ensure the goals you set are very specific, clear and easy. Instead of setting a goal to increase revenue, set a goal that you will increase revenue by X% to be measured monthly or quarterly and detailed steps of how you will reach this goal.
Measurable – If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure; if the goal is accomplished, you were a success. However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal. Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see change occur. How will you know when you reach your goal? Be specific! “I will read 3 books of 200 pages before my birthday” shows the specific target to be measured. “I want to read more.” is not as measurable. Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goals.
Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop that attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing ways to bring yourself closer to your goals. Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from giving it your best. A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need commitment from you. For instance, you know you can’t lose 20 pounds in one week, but it is attainable to lose 2 pounds a week for 10 weeks. Small successes keep you motivated.
Realistic – Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. A goal of never again eating sweets, cakes, and chocolate may not be realistic for someone who really enjoys these foods. For instance, it may be more realistic to set a goal of eating a piece of fruit each day instead of one sweet item. You can then choose to work towards reducing the amount of sweet products gradually as and when this feels realistic for you. Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren’t very capable. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!
Timed – Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, for the next quarter of by the end of the year. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now. Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.
Use the SMART system of goal setting to make 2012 your most productive and successful year ever!
Monty Rainey is a District Manager working in the self storage industry since 1996 and currently overseeing 21 stores in the Austin & San Antonio, TX area. He is also a leadership coach and public speaker. For a free consultation, please contact Monty at 830-743-2139 or visit his website at http://www.montyrainey.com .
- Setting Goals for the New Year (balancedhealthblueprint.com)
- Goal Setting – Planning to Live Your Life Your Way (patriciajevans.com)
- Creating SMART Goals (upstatepropertiesgroup.wordpress.com)
- Setting Goals: Quotes To Inspire You (dailydosetips.wordpress.com)