We have boldly stepped into the second month of the year with all its Black History wonderfulness, and I am willing to bet there may be some goals and resolutions you’ve slacked on. (Personally, this post is coming to you approximately 4 weeks after I originally planned.) No big deal, every day is another chance to start fresh. Rather than repeat an age-old cycle of failed and forgotten resolutions, let’s make 2017 the year that they stick. Use this guide to help you revamp your 2017 resolutions in to SMART goals that will produce tangible results. S.M.A.R.T. as you’ve probably realized by now is an acronym that breaks down step by step, 5 ways to set goals that will keep you on track and allow you to quantify your success as you go! Let's get started.
There is a difference between wanting to increase the number of your email subscribers and determining to grow your subscriber list to 1,000 members. That is – the second is specific. By setting out to attain this goal, you have taken a seemingly overwhelming task – growing your email database – and broken it down into smaller, bite-sized pieces. (We’re all about bite-sized things around here.) The same applies with "I want to learn French this year" versus "I want to learn 10 new French words a week." Let’s continue with these examples.
The next step is to make sure your goals are measurable. Quantifying your goal allows you to keep track of your success. This way, you are able to access your progress and adjust as necessary. Knowing that each week you’ve got 10 new words to learn, if you find yourself falling behind, you can increase your effort or rethink your strategy. For example, if you only organically gain 20 new subscribers per week, you might decide to implement a strategy to bring in 200 new signups in the same period of time. Maybe you offer a free e-book with signup for a limited 7-day period. When all is said and done, you'll want to be able to report on the level of success you achieved, whether you missed the mark or exceeded expectations.
Now listen. I believe that with faith like a mustard seed you can move mountains, so let me not be the one to kill your dreams of accomplishing the impossible. However, when it comes to setting your personal and professional goals, you will want to be sure they are reasonably attainable. That’s not to say they shouldn’t challenge you or pull you out of your comfort zone. They most definitely should. They need to be goals that can be reached within the constraints under which you are operating. So go ahead, reach for the stars.
Here’s where you really need to focus on your ultimate outcome. It’s great to set goals for every area of your life, and I encourage you to do so. But when you set your SMART goals, it is important that you make sure yours are relevant to the success you’d like to see. Be mindful of those things that are necessary for you to get where you want to go, and those that are not. Don’t get caught up in trends or what everyone else is doing without understanding how and why it is in line with your vision, makes your company relatable, and serves your clientele. One recommendation for keeping yourself on target in this process is establishing categories such as Financial, Spiritual, Career, Relational, and Business.
Last, but definitely not least, every goal you set should be time-oriented. “But, Rochelle, what if I don’t know how long it will actually take me to gain 800 new email subscribers?” you might ask. Not to worry! Decide where you would like to be and how much you would like to achieve within a determined amount of time. From here, you can work backwards and figure out what you need to accomplish on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.
That’s why it's important that your goals be attainable. Maybe it’s not realistic to expect yourself to master the French language in 2 months. Maybe learning 10 new vocabulary words a week won’t have you speaking French fluently in time for that vacation you’ve been planning. Each of these 5 steps should be taken together to set an expectation for yourself within your established amount of time. If your aim is to be conversational within 3 to 6 months, your specific goal may become studying for ‘x’ number of hours per week over those months. If instead, you’d just like to take up a new language or brush up on your skills, 10 new words per week may be right up your alley.
The thing about SMART goals is that you set the pace. Push yourself and have a clear picture of where you would like to be at the end. Feel free to work backwards or mix up these steps if need be. Just don’t allow yourself to cop out. Analyze, reassess and keep yourself motivated. If you fall short, it’s not the end of the world. Keep in mind the purpose of setting SMART goals, in addition to keeping yourself accountable, is to help you take small steps to achieve a larger task over time. Understand that every step toward this end is a step in the right direction. Don't despise humble beginnings! Celebrate the little victories. Give yourself a gold star or have a dance party while you check off that box on your to-do list. You’re closer now than when you first began.