Research has shown that the most successful people are goal orientated. This is because these individuals have taken the time to identify what it is that they want to achieve, they have built a clear picture of what success would look like and have taken action to achieve their goals.
“Know what you want, work to get it, then value it once you have it.” ― Nora Roberts
Amazingly, it is estimated that only 3% of the population has an organised life plan or goal.
So, what do we need to think about when setting goals?
We are all familiar with the term SMART goals. We are told that if goals are to be achieved they have to be SMART.
Specific – you should be able to describe your goals in one clear sentence. A goal such as “I want to travel the world” is not specific enough. A specific goal would be “I want to visit Asia, Australia and New Zealand before the end of the year.”
Measurable – You must have a clear way of measuring your success. Determine a means of recognising that you have achieved your goal.
Attainable – When setting your goals you need to ensure that they are achievable. This means thinking about the resources, knowledge, information and time that is available for you. You know the balance required to make them realistic.
Relevant – Goals need to be relevant and heading in the direction of where you want to take your life, career or business.
Time-bound – Your goals need to be placed within a time-frame with a start and finish date. By setting a specific time to achieving the various steps of your goal you will be able to keep track of your progress and keep your mind focused. Ensure that you have enough time to complete the actions but not too much time which can also affect performance.
However, despite all our best efforts of setting SMART Goals, we find that we do not always achieve our goals.
The reasons that we sometimes fail is because setting SMART goals is not good enough. We need to do more.
4Ps of Goals Setting
As well as setting SMART Goals we need to think about the 4 Ps of goal setting.
Positively Stated – the sub-conscious mind, to which our goals are directed, is not able to process negatives. So when stating goals it is essential that you avoid statements like “I want to lose weight.” For success these goals need to be reframed in the positive e.g “reach a target weight of 130lbs by the end of the year.”
Present Tense – By stating the goal in the present tense, this gives you a real sense of ownership and makes it sound real and believable. “I weigh … “ Or “I am enjoying the benefits of being a non-smoker.”
Whilst this might be difficult to come to terms with when thinking with your logical, conscious mind, your subconscious mind, will not have a problem with processing this information.
Personal – To be successful a goal needs to be personal. When the goal is personal you will take ownership and action to achieve it. When a goal is set by someone else, such as in the corporate arena you are not always committed. Goals need to be aligned to your personal values and beliefs with a reason “WHY”.
Possible – Reaching for an impossible goal can only lead to failure. Whilst it is important to set stretch goals, something that is too challenging and unrealistic is not going to lead to success.
Goals are important if we are to move forward. They provide direction, clarity and focus. So next time when setting your goals, think beyond SMART goals and also contemplate the 4 Ps of goal setting.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
― C. S Lewis
About the Author
Sandra Hinshelwood is a small-business coach and mentor working with new business owners. Through her coaching and online programmes, she has helped her clients to increase their confidence, manage the transition from employee to a business owner and live a more authentic life.