At In Order To Succeed® we help clients succeed. Whether it’s achieving a more organized lifestyle, accomplishing a difficult move, using technology to keep our households on track or editing a wardrobe—it gives us sublime pleasure to help others embrace and achieve an organized life. One of the ways we do this is by working with clients to set themselves up for success rather than failure using measurable goals that meet the benchmarks of appropriate goal setting. We use the metric of SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound. Today we’ll take a look at how to set goals in a way that makes sense and so that clients achieve success over failure every time.
Acronyms are popular for a reason: they give people a way to remember a more complex idea by giving them a device by which to remember it. This is more than a hip buzzword, though, they are a practice that when applied help businesses, other organizations, and individuals progress at a new pace.
What are SMART goals? A way to check to see if goals are realistic. Let’s say you want to use technology to make your life easier, you might set a New Year’s Resolution of “Use technology more.” Sounds like a great idea for most people, right? The scraps of paper, notes scrawled hither and thither, texts and emails and other electronic communications sent over various platforms easily missed and not close to being efficient—what could be better than streamlining through technology? But how does “use technology more” measure up as a goal when we use a metric like SMART? What does it mean? What can you tell from the goal? SMART is a way to look at your goal to decide whether or not it can help you achieve.
Do You Have Specific Goals?
“I want to use technology more” While it is a goal that specifies an area where you want to accomplish something, it’s vague. Why do you want to use technology more? Are you learning a new program related to your philanthropic ventures? Have your kids gotten frustrated with a voicemail, text, Facebook Messenger AND email reminding them to walk the dog? Be specific in your goal and you’re likely to be more successful. “I want to use technology to run a more efficient household.” Giving your goal a specific reason, even if it seems obvious to you, makes it more than just an item on a to do list. It helps you to set a powerful intention.
Do You Have Measurable Goals?
So, you want to start using apps and other technology. And you want to do it to be more efficient in how you run your household. That’s a good start to your goal. But, technically, you could simply just start using one mode of communication, like texting, and have met your goal. Or, on the other side of the coin, you could start using seven apps that all do the same thing, wasting lots time. People like to see progress and chart changes—think about the popularity of apps that track everything from water intake to steps taken and stairs climbed. By making your goal measurable you accomplish a few things:
- You put more thought and time into setting the goal, which makes you more invested.
- You can track your progress which helps you feel successful along the journey rather than just at the end.
- You are more likely to hold yourself accountable.
Your goal might now look like, “I want to use technology to find one app that will help me run a more efficient household and use only that app for 90 days.”
Are Your Goals Achievable?
An important part of setting better goals is assessing whether or not they are achievable. Like the investment of time in making measurable goals, taking time to assess whether or not goals are achievable is an important step. If you are in the midst of a life-changing event, don’t know how to download apps and sync them across users, or have not spent any time researching good ideas for apps, you’re not going to achieve your goal. If members of your family don’t use smartphones you’re also not going to achieve it. While your SMART goal doesn’t need to change in wording ask yourself if it’s doable — is it possible for every member of your household? Have you built time into your schedule to research apps?
Are Your Goals Realistic?
There’s a difference between “Achievable” and “Realistic” albeit subtle. Anyone can use technology to help their household be more efficient. But should anyone? If your household is attempting to communicate through more “face time” this might not be a realistic goal that helps you overall. When looking at goals make sure they are doable (achievable) and that the outcome meets the needs of your motivation.
What’s Your Time Frame?
Attaching time to a goal might seem like it would only serve to make you nervous but it actually helps empower you along the way. You can’t get efficient in a week using technology. You might, though, be able to get a grasp of whether a particular app works for you and learn its intricacies over 90 days. Using this type of thinking forces you to mindful of many aspects of the SMART goals process including asking if you have measurable goals.
“I want to use technology to find one app that will help me run a more efficient household and use only that app for 90 days.” Does it pass the test? We already know that this goal is specific and measurable. It’s achievable and completely realistic. It has a time frame, too, meaning it meets the criteria.
SMART Goals For All Of Your Goals
This is just one example of how to set measurable goals but let’s look at other areas of our lives.
Traditional Goal: I want a more organized kitchen.
SMART Goal: I’d like to organize my kitchen this weekend so that I have more room to keep it looking its best and so that I can find things I need instead of wasting time going through everything.
Does It Meet The Benchmarks of SMART goals? You’ve been specific that you’re targeting a kitchen in order to live more efficiently and not waste time. You’re going to get it done this weekend. This goal meets the criteria. How will you measure it? When you cook at the end of the weekend!
Traditional Goal: I want to use my smartphone more.
SMART GOAL: In the next thirty days I would like to use my phone to help me stay organized instead of scraps of paper that can get lost and look messy.
Does It Meet The Benchmarks of SMART goals? Add this to your list of measurable goals. It is one that sets a specific time limit to achieve something that is possible and for the reason of de cluttering your life. Maybe it’s your first step to going paperless?
By redesigning your goals as SMART and focusing on what can be measured you will achieve your desired results. The consultants of In Order to Succeed® are available to help you develop your plan and set you on the right track, whatever your goals might be, personal or professional!