I was chatting to a mate the other day…

His teenage kids were “DOING HIS HEAD IN”

He, like most of us, thought he’d done his best to raise well-behaved little people, but try as he might, what he’d got was the opposite. 

After a heartfelt and emotional conversation, we concluded that maybe he was setting goals for his kids without really having them in mind. 

His ideas of what they should and shouldn’t be, were different to their own.

I explained the BE – DO – HAVE model.

We decided to try out an experiment. 

A few days later, he sat down with them and asked them to write down what they wanted to HAVE in life. 

He asked them to write down a list of all of the things that they wanted. They put everything from Degrees, gadgets, money, houses and statues built in their honour. 

Next, he asked them what he thought they needed to DO to get the things that they wanted. They wrote down things like getting money, getting jobs, and working hard.

Finally, he asked them, “Who do you think you need to BE, to DO the things that you need to DO if you want to get the things you want to HAVE?” 

This was by far the hardest question for them to answer but he pushed them. After some time, they came up with a list.

  • I need to be a hard worker
  • I need to be someone who takes my studies seriously
  • I need to be someone who likes to learn new things
  • I need to read books
  • I need to have a growth mindset
  • I need to be good with money
  • I need to be well-organised

The changes happened almost immediately. 

Invariably and without really knowing it, the teenagers had set some clear goals for the things they wanted.

All of a sudden, they started to focus on the things that meant something to THEM. And before he knew it, his unruly and unpleasant kids became disciplined, organised and focussed.

Kids, like adults, have their own minds and typically put themselves first. You can’t control what they do. You can only control the rewards, consequences, consistency, and responsiveness. 

Beyond that, the experiment also taught me an important lesson. 

We can’t simply copy and paste other people’s goals and expect to achieve them. 

Our goals belong to us, and we alone need to take charge of them.

So how do we set goals? We go into detail about them. We see the bigger picture, and we break them down into actionable steps that help them get there. It’s an oldie but goldie, but to make sure your goals are reachable, they should be SMART.

In this blog, we look into SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Why SMART Goals

Here are 3 reasons why SMART goals are the best goals:

1. Get Clarity

With SMART goals, you can have better direction about where your business is headed. SMART goals reduce confusion and enhance productivity because you and the rest of your team are all on the same page, working towards the same goal.

2. Align With Your Objectives

Business owners are sometimes guilty of jumping into tasks that are not part of their objectives or long-term plans. With SMART goals, you can align your goals and tasks with larger strategies for the business. They remind you of the bigger picture and enhance your sense of purpose, ensuring your efforts are in the right direction.

3. Improved Decision-Making

When faced with choices or changes in your business, you can always refer back to your SMART goals and evaluate options based on how they align with each other. This provides a sense of direction and purpose for individuals and organisations.

Let’s take a look at each of the five SMART goals:

  1. Specific Goals
  2. Measurable Goals
  3. Attainable Goals
  4. Relevant Goals
  5. Time-Bound Goals

1. Specific Goals

In a Ted Talk by Reggie Rivers, he says that if you focus only on your end goal you won’t achieve it. You’ll also need to control your behaviours that lead you to your goals.

For example, if you decide to go on a weight loss diet, you’ll probably start with a goal – I want to lose ten pounds by the end of the year. But if you only focus on that, it’ll be hard to achieve it. 

Because the next thing you’ll do is go from your goal to the scale. And when the results don’t happen overnight, you’ll give up. Essentially, that’s why you have to be very specific about your goals. It helps you to see the bigger picture.

You need to control everything you eat and don’t eat. You’ll need to get up and exercise, every day, and you’ll need to say no to yourself even when you’re desperately craving that piece of chocolate cake.

Specific goals go into detail. What behaviour do you need to change in order to achieve the goals? What habits do you need to break? The more specific, the easier it is for your brain to develop a strategy to achieve them.

Here are two ways to make sure that your goals are as specific as possible:

  • Include Details and Parameters

Be sure to specify the seemingly small details. Ask yourself the 5Ws and H:

What is the goal? Who is involved? Where will it take place? Why? When will it take place? How will it take place?

Everything you deem as relevant should be penned down.

  • Avoid Generalisations

Specific goals  steer clear of vague terms such as “Improve” or “Increase.” Instead, get more into detail about the improvement that you are aiming for.

For example, if you are speaking about improving your marketing skills, narrow this down by saying you will take specific courses for the next x amount of months on Digital Marketing so as to provide better services for your client.

2. Measurable Goals

When you’re setting goals, you’ll need to be able to track your progress. The only way you can do that is by making them measurable. Otherwise, you may think you’re progressing when you’re actually not.

Making measurable goals gives you a sense of excitement as you get closer to achieving it. It gives you the motivation and push to keep trying and to keep going. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it.

How do you measure your goals? It could be that you want to run 1 km a day or to consistently read 15 pages of a book daily. By making it measurable, you can adjust your life in a way that helps you achieve them.

Here are two easy ways to make your goals measurable:

  • Quantify Them

It’s certainly not enough to set a goal, you also have to quantify it. Use numbers, percentages, or other measurable units to strive for. That way, you can easily monitor how close you are to achieving the goal.

  • Break down into Milestones

How will you know that you are on the right track? Break your goal down into smaller, achievable milestones. Each milestone should have its own quantifiable metrics.

3. Attainable Goals

Your goal should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.

There’s no point of setting a goal if you can’t work towards it. 

Your goals must make sense to you. Yes, we’re all dreamers and we all envision the perfect future. But what’s the point of setting a goal which is not realistic? It’s a complete waste of your time.

Let’s take a look at these two examples:

Person A: I’m going to increase our company’s social media following by 500%.

Person B: I will implement a new hashtag strategy in our social media platforms and measure the increase in followers every two weeks for the next quarter to evaluate its success.

Which of the two seems more attainable?

An attainable goal encompasses all the aspects of the other goals. It is one that you can reach given your current mindset, motivation level, timeframe, skills and abilities.

With that said, setting a realistic goal begs you to look deep within yourself and your capabilities. You’ll need to be really honest with yourself. It’s not only about what you want to achieve but also what you can achieve.

An achievable goal will answer these two questions:

  • How Can I Accomplish This Goal?

If you are not able to answer this question, then you may need to go back to the drawing board. When it comes to achievable goals, you can easily pinpoint how you can accomplish them. Make this easier for yourself by breaking it down and seeing how viable it is to do so.

  • How Realistic Is This Goal Based on the Available Resources?

With the resources that you have now, are you able to achieve this goal? And if not, how likely is it that you will have all these resources in good time to achieve your goals? These are the kinds of questions that you should ask yourself.

4. Relevant Goals

A relevant goal matters and makes sense to you.

Because at the end of the day, if your goal doesn’t matter to you, then there’s no point in having it.

You can’t take someone else’s goal and make it your own. You should only work towards things that align directly with your intrinsic values.

So how do you make sure that your goal is relevant? It should answer these questions:

  • Does This Seem Worthwhile?

A relevant goal must be worth all the time and effort that goes into turning it into a reality. This also makes you more motivated to actually pursue it.

  • Is This the Right Time?

Relevance is strongly tied in with timeliness. Relevant goals are pursued at the correct time. Make sure that your goal is a priority considering everything else that you have on your plate at that time.

  • Am I the Right Person To Achieve This Goal?

You also need to evaluate whether you’re the best person to achieve this goal. If you are swamped with other work, it might be the best time to elegate to someone else.

5. Time-Bound Goals

I watched a great YouTube video the other day that says “Your day is your life.” The speaker said that her awareness of her mortality makes her conscious of the fact that she may not have tomorrow. So, she aims to work with today. Within these 24 hours, how are you tapping into the areas in your life that matter to you?

When we set goals, they may seem like a dream. But when we break them down in terms of time, it becomes much easier.

What do you aim to have done by the end of today, this week, this month, and this year? Making time-bound goals creates an all-important sense of urgency and necessary focus, while helping to set priorities and prompting action.

Here are two ways to make sure that your goals are time-bound:

  • Allocate Timeframes to Specific Actions

Instead of having an overall time frame for all the goals to be achieved, it might be worth your while to allocate a time frame for every action. This helps to keep you on track as you make new milestones.

  • Factor in Contingencies

Just to make sure that you end up achieving everything that you set out to, you need to include a buffer time for unexpected delays or challenges. This will make sure that at the end of the time that you set for yourself, you have achieved the goal.

In conclusion…

Setting goals should be a deliberate and intentional effort. You have to sit down and actually reflect on what really matters to you. Setting goals will help you turn your dreams into reality by guiding you on exactly how to achieve them.

This blog talks about SMART goals, why they are important, and how to make sure that your goals are SMART:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Attainable
  4. Relevant
  5. Time-Bound

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

Need help figuring out how to achieve your goals? Get in touch, let’s have a chat about you and your dreams, and what needs to happen to get you there.


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