Sure every one of you has heard you should set goals, but do you know why it is important for both your business and your life? No, this isn't some silly method to keep that New Year's Resolution you already gave up on. It's about defining specific, measurable goals that will motivate you to achieve them. Also, find out how Jim Carrey made $10 million dollars through positive visualization.
The Key to Motivation
Saying you will get 10 loads of laundry folded and dishes put away will more than likely put you off to a terrible start (not that cleaning can't be your thing). Before you even start making a list you need to get your head around your goals being motivational. What will actually pump you up, set yourself apart and make you shine? Like I talked about in my journey, I had the wrong frame of mind. I was shooting for that next level and not the next thing that would fulfill my spirit and myself.
Bare with me, you have heard this, but have you ever actually practiced making SMART goals? No, no, you haven't, or maybe you did for an afternoon, but you didn't stick with it.
S - Specific
Saying you will redo your website is not even close to specific. Perhaps you want to refresh your website to drive more traffic, get more leads and attain customers. The goal is aspirational, but not specific in nature. WHO is involved? WHAT is my desired outcome? WHEN do you need to achieve it? Is it a hard or soft deadline? WHERE can this be accomplished? HOW will you achieve it? What is required and necessary?
M – Measurable
You defined that you want to drive more traffic to attain more customers, but how would you measure that? Perhaps, 3 months from launching you want to have created on average 20% more traffic daily, 10% more conversion to leads and 5% moving into customer acquisitions. Sounds easy? Try creating a specific measurable goal now.
A – Attainable
Woah, you just said you wanted 20% MORE TRAFFIC? Cool, that is measurable, but is that even close to attainable? If you are driving 100 daily readers to your blog, 20% more may be totally within reach, but what it that number was 10x? Make sure your measurable goal is actually attainable. Compare your previous performance to what you wrote down as your initial specific, measurable goal. Is it on trend? Do you need to scale back? Or were you too conservative?
R – Relevant
If your specific, measurable, attainable traffic is to build a new website that drives 20% more traffic, but 90% of your sales are in retail, this may not be relevant. Are your goals actually pushing your overall aspirations forward?
T – Time Bound
You must give yourself an overall time constraint. Give yourself a due date. To make these large goals possible they must have a deadline. Perhaps you outline the major goal to be done in 3 months. Perfect, what now?
Create an Action Plan
So by now you have at least one SMART goal at the top of mind and there are probably a few bubbling on the back burner. But now you are totally overwhelmed with this giant task (this is a good point to double check yourself on the attainable portion). What's next? You need an action plan ready and willing to help you achieve your goal.
If you haven’t already, jot down your goal – with pen and paper. For myself, I have strategic systems put in place to help me with what is next.
I take that note and immediately add it to Wunderlist. If you haven’t yet looked into this app, you must do so. You can create boards based on different categories of your life. I have one for Home (which I share with my husband), Work and even Volunteer Work. You can add categories as necessary for yourself – some ones to consider: career/business, financial, education, family, health, lifestyle and yes, even ego gratification.
On the board that makes sense, write down your first SMART goal. Attach a deadline – the time bound piece. Now you can create reminders, subtasks and even notes to get you to the next level. To create actionable information, I star my most critical and make those my top tier goals.
- All goals must be positive! If you go in with the wrong frame of mind you will never reach the end. Perhaps you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months. If you tag “because I am overweight” on the end you never will get around to it. Instead, if you add “to have more energy and spend more time with my children” that 10 pounds automatically seems way more doable.
- Write them down. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, you must first physically write it down. You can go on and type up your action plan, but that initial goal must be in pen and paper. Consider it a mini contract with yourself. If you need to sign your name to make it official do it. Though the research isn’t quite as strong (as most would lead you to believe) – I personally have found a difference in writing it down.
- Rank and prioritize your goals. Not everything can happen all at once, so set your priorities. A wise women once told me, start everyday with two main priorities. Before you do anything else, and I mean anything, no email, no texting, no social media, get out and do your first task 100% undistracted. You now have reached 50% of your goals complete and it is probably only 8:20 a.m. Set aside a second uninterrupted time when you can be productive, perhaps it is right after lunch. If number two isn’t already done this is a great time to complete it. Not only will you get more accomplished, but you will have a better idea of what is attainable during your focused time. Perhaps you will even reach a state of Flow (but that is a whole other conversation).
- Reflect often. Making a goal is one thing, but if you never put the wheels in motion, of course you will never arrive at your final destination. You must reflect and reflect often. Recently a friend, ironically named Joe Carey, described Jim Carrey’s key to success. I heard the whole story, but was so intrigued; I had to find the original source. In 1997, Oprah interviewed Jim on national television (don't start googling, just watch it below). He described how he wrote himself a check, long before the money was in the bank for $10 million dollars (for acting services rendered). He dated it 3 years out and put it in his wallet. He referenced it frequently and saw it slowly deteriorate. Low and behold it all came true when he found out he got the gig on Dumb & Dumber. Sound word of advice from Jim, “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.” All that rubber has to meet the road, with hard work and dedication. In the words of Oprah “If you can see it and believe it, it is a lot easier to achieve it.”
Celebrate Your Success! (And Debrief)
When a fighter pilot goes on a mission, he ends every mission, successful or not with a debrief. It is not only an opportunity to reflect, but a time to spend working on ways to be better next time and celebrate the victories. Every goal accomplished big or small needs a celebration. It may be the simple “ding” of checking it off your Wunderlist, but my personal favorites involve others. A friend recently texted me that a customer had received 5 times their initial investment on a marketing campaign she was working on. It was followed with many exclamation points! I couldn’t have been prouder (or happier) that she chose me to share her successes with. Find a friend or family member that understands the stakes in the game and can really feel it with you. Mom, ALWAYS feels it! She is my biggest fan and biggest cheerleader. Top-secret tidbit, she would make me do cheers, yes cheers in the car before every interview. I may have laughed and shrugged at the hand movements she was describing over the phone, but it made me smile. And heck, I got the job!
What are your top 3 SMART goals? Comment below - we will help keep you accountable!
We realize that this SMART goals are just one piece of the gigantic puzzle that makes a small business successful. Sometimes before we can even begin to learn or implement things like reflection and ranking goals we’ve got to take it a few steps back a lay the foundation. We’ve created the best FREE tool for you to do this! We’d love to have you inside our free 7-Day Email Course “Spark Your Creativity: 7 Steps to Ignite Your Creative Business”.
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