Let me tell you one interesting thing before we start this article. Around 96% of people in the world not able to achieve their desired intentions in life or not able to achieve what they want to do in life. The main reason for this is they are not having a goal in their life which is S.M.A.R.T. and the absence of a review mechanism to reach there.
In this article, I have explained in detail not only how to set the goals in life, but also how to achieve them with effectiveness in a defined timeline.
Goal setting is one of the important activities if you want clarity from your life. With Clarity, you will have power.
Once you have done the goals set, then it will be having multiple benefits to you:
- It will give you a long-term vision and keeps you motivated to achieve them
- It will also help you to focus on the acquisition of knowledge to achieve goals
- It will help you to organize your time for the most important things in your life, and
- It will guide you to ensure the effective use of resources available to you including your time, money, etc.
So, let’s go into detail about each of these steps.
1 Define the area Of Goal Setting
In this 1st step, define an area of life for which you want to set the goals. This can be any area of your life, including health, wealth, relationships, financials, career, etc. You can do the goal setting for multiple or all areas of life, but at one-time focus only on one area of life.
Once you have crafted goal statements for all areas of your life, then you can plan resources in the most effective way to ensure utilization of them so that you can make the most of your life.
Please make ensure that at any point in time, you should have at most 5 goal statements. More than 5 will not work and will drain your energy in managing them. Out of these 5 goal statements, 3 can be related to your professional or business life and 2 can be from personal life. This is not a thumb rule, but do not have more than 5 goals in your life.
If you want to keep on 2 goals in your life for some duration, let's say for the year 2021, 1 is from professional life and another is from personal life, absolutely fine. Let's go for it.
Let's take another case. If you want to focus on Health and Career Growth in 2021, then have the goal statements in these parts of your life.
That means you can also have different goal statements for different time durations or phases of your life. Ultimately you are the one who is going to take a call on this.
Once you have completed step-1, i.e. you have decided on an area in which you want to set the goals, then develop a general goals statement to a SMART goals statement in the next steps.
Here, the SMART goal statement stands for:
- Relevant and
2 Goal statement element: SPECIFIC
This step indicates your goal statement must be Clear and Specific.
If your goals are specific, then you will be able to focus on them very easily and it will keep you motivated to achieve that.
To get a specific statement, you need to ask questions like:
- Why this goal is important for you?
- What do you want to do?
- Who is involved to do it?
The answers to all these questions must be Simple and Significant.
For example, let's say you are a working professional and want to achieve significant career growth in 2021.
In this case, the specific goal will be "I want to gain the knowledge and experience which is necessary to achieve my career growth so that I can promote to managerial positions in the organization I am working."
3 Goal Statement Element: MEASURABLE
This step indicates that your goal statement must be Measurable.
If you want to measure your progress towards the goal, then the statement must be measurable. It will help to meet the deadlines, make necessary changes, and will keep you exciting as you will be approaching to achieve it. The ultimate result of it is to boost your self-confidence.
To get the measurable statement, you need to ask the questions like:
- How will know when you have reached it?
- How much improvement is required?
- What is its current level?
The answers to all these questions must be in terms of numbers and meaningful.
If we continue the same example in the previous step, then we can measure your goal of career growth and rise to managerial positions by completing the necessary training courses, like Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification, and gaining the required experience of 5 years or similar.
4 Goal Statement Element: ATTAINABLE
This step indicates that your goal statement must be Attainable or Achievable.
Your goal statement must be realistic so that you can achieve it. The meaning of this statement is- the goal statement must not be too easy to achieve, It must stretch your abilities and with it, you can achieve it.
In other words, we can say it's not like the boiling the ocean kind of thing.
With an achievable goal statement, you will be having different sight to previously missed opportunities or other resources that can bring you closer to achieve the goal.
To get the attainable goal statement, you need to ask the questions like:
- Is it in power to accomplish it?
- How could you achieve this goal?
- How realistic is the goal based on time, financial and other factors?
The answers to all these questions will give you a realistic goal statement.
If we continue the same example in the previous steps, then we can find whether the goal statement is achievable or not by considering, whether Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification will be completed during the goal period? What are the other different resources need for it and could you afford them?
In the attainable statement, please note that getting promoted to managerial positions is also included various uncontrollable factors, like vacancy or requirement in the organization. We are talking here w.r.t. controls that are in our hand.
5 Goal Statement Element: RELEVANT
This step indicates your goal statement is important for you and at the same time it must be aligned with other relevant goals.
This goal statement must be aligned with your purpose in life. As a human, we are the social animals and we all need support in completion of our goals. Therefore, it is important that the completion of your goal will help the community around you. But, the ultimate responsibility of achieving your goals is lies with you only.
To get a relevant statement, you need to ask questions like:
- Is it aligned with your purpose?
- Is this the right time to go for it?
- Is it applicable considering the current situation and the environment?
- Who is involved to do it?
Let's understand this element of the goal statement with the same example we had considered in the previous steps.
You might want to gain the skills to achieve career growth and rise to a managerial position within your organization, but is it the right time to undertake the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training, or work toward additional qualifications? Have you considered your family goals? For example, if you want to start a family, would completing training in your free time make this more difficult?
6 Goal Statement Element: TIME-BOUND
This statement indicates a target date to achieve your goal.
With this statement in place, you will have a deadline to focus on and complete the goal before that. This is an important step that will help you to prioritize your efforts and resources to complete the goal on time.
To get the time-bound statement, you need to ask the questions like:
- When do you want to achieve this?
Let's understand this element of the goal statement with the help of the same example we had seen in previous steps.
If you are going for the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification, then how much time it will take for the training and certification. If it is one year, then the time-bound statement will be- to complete Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification by Feb-2022.
Up to this step, we had identified the area for goal setting and then detailed a stepwise approach to define the SMART goal statement. Now, let's understand the last step which will help you to achieve your goals in a defined timeline.
Now, we had seen the detailed meaning of each of the concepts included in S.M.A.R.T. format. So, let's summarize the final goal statement formed by this excellent format.
It would be: "I want to gain the knowledge and experience which is necessary to achieve my career growth by Completing my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification along with 5 years of experience in the field which is a requirement of the managerial position in my organization by Feb-2022."
You can formulate these S.M.A.R.T. goal statements for other areas as well like health, wealth, relationships, financials, etc.
Please note that you must lesser than 5 goals to target at any time.
7 Execution and Review Mechanism:
This is the last but the most important step to achieve the goals in a defined timeline.
In this step, every week you have to monitor the progress of your goals and need to compare with planned progress. By comparing these two things, you will get the exact insight about the progress towards the goal.
In this step, you need to ask three questions:
- What was gone wrong?
- What was gone right? and
- What can be improved?
Based on answers to these questions, you need to plan actions to bridge the gap between planned vs actual progress.
In this step, you need to identify the problem or an opportunity for improvement, so that you can achieve the goal within a defined timeline.
In this step, we need to identify the solution or action item to solve the problem or to grab an opportunity for improvement. Once you are sure about it, then implement the solution or take an action.
Please remember, here we are just doing the testing part and not executing it fully.
After the implementation of an action, you need to monitor the effectiveness of it. If it is favorable, means helping you to achieve your goals, then go to the next step.
In this step, implement the solution fully. But remember, here is not an end of the process. You need to do this exercise weekly to ensure you have reached your goal in time with the effectiveness and results you have planned.
Goal setting is important in every aspect of your life and it is a must thing to get clarity. Let's summarise our learning from this article.
- Goal setting is important to decide what do you want from your life
- With the help of goal setting, we can segregate what is important and relevant for us from distractions and irrelevant things.
- Goal setting provides you the motivation and helps to improve self-confidence.
- You will be able to make your life meaningful with the help of Goal setting.
- You can set up to 5 goals in your life, 3 can be from professional life and 2 can be from personal life
- Do not set more than 5 goals at any time, it will create a mess, and management of the resources will be difficult.
- In 1st step, you need to define an area for goal setting. That can be Health, Wealth, Career Growth, Relationships, etc.
- From step-2 to step-6 define the goal statement in S.M.A.R.T. format which will be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- In step-7, ensure continuous review of the progress towards the goal, normally weekly, and take actions to bridge the gaps. This will help you to achieve goals with effectiveness and in a defined timeline.