Big or small, everyone has goals. Or at least, they have dreams that they haven't made into set goals yet. When you have things you want to achieve that are so big they scare you a little bit, it can be difficult to know how to get started on them.
The truth is, however, that almost anything is possible when you break it down into steps. Want a brand new dream job? Okay, but what's the first step? Do you firstly need to upskill through doing an online course or workshop? Make that your goal. Once you've done that, you can work on the next step, which might be getting a new CV done up or attending a networking event. Of course, I am simplifying this just a little bit, but the fact is that when you have small measurable goals, the big stuff doesn't seem so scary anymore.
This is where SMART goals come in. SMART goals make sure that what you want to do is possible. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. If you put your objective through those five requirements, you'll be able to figure out exactly what the steps are to achieve what you want - as well as making sure that you can get it done.
The first step requires your goal to be specific. According to MindTools.com, if you're trying to figure out if your goal is specific enough, you should put it through the "five W's". These are:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
Once you know that, you can move on to step two.
You need a goal that you can measure in order to track your process and stay motivated. How will you know when this goal is completed and you can move onto the next step? Tracking your goal is a hugely important part of keeping yourself accountable and ready for the next phase in your plan.
It's all well in good decided you're going to become fluent in French. But will you be able to do it in three weeks? Mais non. However, will you be able to sign up for a French class and commit to studying for a certain amount of time each week? Absolutely. Having goals that feel completely impossible from the get-go can leave you feeling defeated before you even start. So, start with small goals you know you can do and work your way up to the more difficult stuff. That way, you'll have a momentum of encouragement, confidence and positivity that will see you right through until the end.
Is signing up for an evening French course realistic for you in your circumstances? Do you have a baby sitter for your kids? Do you have enough money? Do you have the space needed to study? These are all things you must take into careful consideration before embarking on your goal setting adventure. While something might be easy for others to do, this might not be the case for you. It doesn't mean you can't do it, but you should have a realistic look at your circumstances and try to be aware of barriers that may present themselves. Adjust and modify your plans if you need to.
Putting a realistic and achievable time frame to your goal will help you to stay motivated and accountable. It will also help you to plan for what you want to have achieved within that time frame. For example, what would you like to have done at the halfway point? This way, you'll know what's expected of you as time ticks on.
Will you be setting any SMART goals?