“living without written goals is like a sailboat on the sea with no path or direction. The boat travels anywhere the wind blows, so it’s impossible to know where the boat will end up. However, one thing can be sure – it will not be where the captain of the boat wanted to go at the beginning.”
I wanted to talk about goal setting today and what it means to me. I have been a firm believer of goal setting for the past 7 years now and I can confidently say that it has gotten me to where I am today. Just like everyone else, I like to take time in the beginning of the year to ask the big questions in life – where do I see myself in a year? Am I satisfied with my current success? Am I on track with my 5-year plan? Is there anything that needs to change? After some serious reflection, the answers are written down on paper and are analyzed monthly where I can rework them. Goal setting is a process, not a task. It is not reserved for just the month of January and left alone until the following year; they need to be re-evaluated regularly throughout the year to ensure you are staying on track. If you aren’t setting and following your written goals, you are allowing life to happen to you rather than deciding what life will bring to you.
I am also not just referring to career goals, but creating a higher sense of harmony in ALL aspects of your life; goals that involve family, friends, business, money, health, faith, personal growth and even fun! I can personally say that I have a tendency to focus my time on business and financial goals and tend to neglect other aspects of my life. This is why reviewing the goals from various facets of my life is extremely important in keeping me balanced and on track.
So how do I set goals?
The time-tested criteria that myself and many successful people use is based on the mnemonic S-M-A-R-T. Each letter in SMART refers to a different criterion that contributes to setting and achieving your goals successfully.
- Specific – Pick your goal and be extremely specific about what that goal actually is. Make sure it is something your mind can visualize and understand. Once you’ve done that, write down all the reasons ‘WHY’ you want to achieve this goal. The more benefits you put down, the more willing you will be to achieve it. For example, if your goal is to “create an inspiring blog”, then specify what that would mean to you and why it is important to you (e.i. to give back to the community by helping others in my field of interest).
- Measurable – Make sure your goal is objectively An indicator of progress is necessary to achieving a goal. For example, if you want to have an inspiring blog, put a measurement on the number of followers/subscribers you would like to have. You can also put a measurement on how many blogs you will post a month in order to attract those followers. Having these measurable goals will allow you to physically see whether you are achieving your goal or not.
- Action – Your mind can create results in your body by visualization. There have been studies done on the power of visualization and the effects it has on reality. For example, gymnasts that were incapable of landing a move were told to envision the movement step by step and imagine landing it successfully in their mind. Visualizing this movement fired the same brain area as physically doing the movement. After visualizing the movement repeatedly in their mind for a while, gymnasts were able to land it successfully in reality. Determine the physical steps required to attain your goal and picture what the end result will look like. Also, visualize as if your goal has already happened in the present moment because doing so makes you accountable to your commitments. If you say “I have written 2 blog posts this week,” then you are more likely to actually do it. Visualize these goals every day!
- Realistic – Make sure the goal can be realistically achieved. There is a fine balance between challenging yourself and making a goal out of reach so that it is discouraging. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds in a month, make sure you are able to achieve this goal given the resources available (e.i. get a trainer for an hour a week to help you). In regards to the ‘blog subscriber goal’, if you have never written a blog post before then this goal can seem unreachable. What you will want to do is break the goal down into smaller more realistic steps so that the goal does not seem so unrealistic. For example, before writing your first blog, you might want to take 2-day course on blogging so that you’re more comfortable with writing.
- Time-related – specify when the goal or the milestones will be achieved. Many people are scared by setting a time limit to their goal because they don’t want to seem like a failure if its not achieved. Remember that deadlines can be flexible. It is fine if the goal doesn’t come to fruition within the set time given, but having a deadline for your goal will help you organize the steps to achieve it. In order to achieve your goals, you need to set a time related to its completion.
Well, there you have it! Give the SMART goal setting strategy a chance and I guarantee you will see results. Remember to review the goals on a regular basis to the point where they are embedded in who you are. Afterall, a goal is created 3 times – First – mentally, second – written down, and lastly – through action.
So go ahead, leave a path designed by you.
Feel as if you’re living the life you’ve always wanted.
I thought I’d share a few of my SPECIFIC goals for 2016. I have a whole SMART plan written down for them in a notebook that I review monthly. These SPECIFIC goals are written down on a whiteboard in my office, so I can see them everyday.
- Plan my wedding
- Build a house from the foundation up for Danielle and I to Move in by June 2016
- Read 12 books
- Take Real Estate courses
- Educate myself on ‘principle mortgage financing’ and ‘Commercial RE Investing’
- Create a daily morning and evening routine
- Lose weight (204lbs to 190lbs)
- Cleanse in April 2016
- Quit smoking indefinitely
- Snowboard in Fernie, BC (February 2016)
- Go to Ibiza for bachelor party (September 2016)
- Take a week off in July 2016 and book a cottage trip with the family
- Double my realtor Income
- Sell 4 properties in realtor portfolio
- 6 figures in passive equity growth for REI business
So there you have it! Those are my “S” goals for 2016!
Try to see if the S-M-A-R-T criteria can work for you.