After years of punching the clock and running the rat race, you may be ready for significant changes in your life. Perhaps you are ready for a career change, or maybe you are entrepreneurial minded, so you’d like to start your own business. In either case, the skills you have accumulated over the years are not enough to transition from the corporate world into a new phase. You need to set goals that are specific, realistic and measurable. Your goal may be to open a restaurant for example, but that goal will not manifest without following a series of steps that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be.
To accomplish your ultimate goal, you have to establish smaller intentions that are precise and clearly defined. Each one is a step of progression in preparation for your final achievement. The process of identifying those intentions requires that you employ the SMART goal setting system. This effective goal setting technique empowers you to seek clarity on what it is you really want, identify distractions and overcome obstacles to ensure you stay on track and avoid wasting time.
What Are SMART Goals
SMART goals are powerful tools that help you to organise, structure and achieve complex ambitions. They enable you to assess your skills and abilities while building your self-confidence and competence. While there are variants of the acronym, SMART stands for:
S – Specific (Significant)
M – Measurable (Meaningful)
A – Attainable (Action-Oriented)
R – Relevant (Rewarding)
T – Time-bound (Trackable)
How To Set SMART Goals And Achieve Them
The first step to creating a SMART goal is to develop a mental picture of the specific outcome you wish to achieve. In what direction do you want your life to go? What characteristics describe the kind of person do you want to become? How do you envision your life in 5 or 10 years from now? Write down the answers to these questions as they will reveal the bigger picture and help you to visualise it. They will also help you to define the set of actions that will get you there.
Second, disseminate your main goals into smaller actionable points that are measurable and achievable. Make a list of all the components that will lead you to your goal. If your main goal is to open a restaurant, then your smaller action steps would include securing a location, hiring staff, creating a menu and organising how the business will operate.
Third, measure your goals to determine if they are attainable and relevant to your bigger objectives. Whether or not you can accomplish these goals depends on the cost, time and resources involved. Opening a restaurant means that you not only have to have a location, but you need tables, chairs, utensils, plates and cookware. On top of that, you must market your business to bring customers through the door, which means you may have to consider the location of your restaurant to determine if it is accessible to your targeted demographic. And while entertainment could be a part of your game plan to make your business attractive and distinguished, you need to decide if planning your music selection and hiring a band are relevant to the immediate goal of ensuring the restaurant opens in time.
The final step is to establish a trackable time-bound line in which you will lay out the milestones you need to reach to accomplish your goals. Your restaurant opening needs to be set for a particular date, and all preparations will need to be carefully handled prior to this date. It could take 3 months to obtain your food and liquor permits which means that even if you were ready to open sooner, you cannot serve any customers until those licenses are in place. Setting priorities will help you determine a time-line that accommodates all your goals in the correct order.
Now that you can properly establish, execute and achieve SMART goals, do not spend too much time thinking about it. Take action today on the first step and allow the momentum to carry you through. If you find yourself feeling stuck or hesitant, regroup your thoughts by reviewing your SMART goals once more. Use visualisation and affirmation techniques to invigorate your subconscious with hope and assurance. You will be rewarded with thoughts of determination and resilience as your goals provide you with direction and inspiration to continue until you achieve them.