Have you ever made a new year’s resolution, only to have fallen off the bandwagon by February? I used to make amazing aspirational goals that were so unattainable I couldn’t even remember them a couple of weeks in. It is possible to make your goals in a way that means you are more likely to achieve them, and they can help you get where you want to be in life.
SMARTY Goals: Better Goal Setting
We did SMART goals at school, and I’ll be honest, I remember thinking it wasn’t interesting or relevant to me. Probably for children it isn’t really, but as a business owner they take on a new light. Also, times have moved on, and you can set better goals using the SMARTY goals mnemonic: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, and You.
Your goals should be focused and identify a tangible outcome. When you are vague it leaves too much room for losing track of what you actually wanted and losing focus so the more specific the less wiggle room for wandering from what you actually wanted in the first place.
- I’m going to use one of my own goals as an example; my specific goal is to have a new business website.
What is your definition of success for this particular goal? It needs to be clear when you have achieved your goal and how much progress you have made against it.
- In my example, this is entirely new content, pages and website structure needs to be live and replace the old one.
This one is really tricky. It needs to be enough of a stretch to not just happen by chance, but not impossible. Whatever feels right for you. Then probably a little bit more.
- I’ve done research, courses and planning. I know what I’m getting into, so I know that I can create my new website and what I’m making. This is achievable, though a big project.
Does it make sense as part of your longer-term goals, such as what you want from your life or the big picture for your business? It could be a perfectly good, sensible goal, but if it isn’t in alignment with the long-term plan, it’s not right for you. Does this goal get you closer to where you want to be in life?
- My current website was created right at the start of my business, so no longer accurately reflects the value I add to my clients. All other marketing activity fundamentally points towards my website, and if that’s not right, it’s just going to confuse my messaging and potential customers. It is important for the success of my business that the centre of my marketing activity – my website – is right.
What is the deadline for this goal? If it is an ongoing goal (e.g. fitness, regular habits), what is the frequency?
- I’d love the website to be done in Q1, but with my workload and bookings already made for the next few months, I know its just not going to happen. So I’m going to target Q2 – by the end of June – to get it live.
This is the new bit and what makes SMARTY goals different. Some definitions ask if the goal is dependent on you, as if the goal is reliant on someone else’s actions, you have no control over it. I’d like to add: is it important to YOU? We so often make goals aspirational, based on what we think we should be targeting, on what our peers are trying to achieve. Do you really care about your goal? This is the difference in mindset, how committed you are to your goal, and has massive implications on whether you are willing to work hard to achieve it or give up.
- Yes, I care. My website being outdated has annoyed me for a long time. As soon as anyone mentions it I get embarrassed. I need to make it something I’m proud of and truly represents by business and my values.
Here is another example:
- Bad goal: ‘I want to get my blog up and going.’
- SMARTY goal: ‘I want to get my website live with 3 blog posts written, proofed, and uploaded by February 29th. I then want to write, proof, and upload 2 blog posts a month through the year. I will also have my content calendar for all blog post topics completed for the first 6 months of this year by January 31st. This will enable me to move towards income from my website and the location-independent lifestyle I desire.’
Setting goals is a valuable tool when running a business, can be done in a way that is effective and helps you achieve more. Take a look at your goals now, and if they aren’t SMARTY goals, revise them so they are – and get started today!
What are your SMARTY goals? Let me know in the comments below.
You might be interested in our wider look at setting goals in this article: How to Plan the Next Year for Your Business.
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