“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable,” said motivational speaker and productivity expert Denis Waitley. “Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”
Managers cannot motivate employees on an ongoing basis, just like people or circumstances cannot keep you motivated. Research shows that when your goals are personal and mean something important to you, the following occurs:
1. Tasks are filtered through the goals. You do the activities aligned with your goals while you ignore irrelevant activities.
2. You work harder towards the end result. Effort becomes more effortless.
3. You use knowledge that otherwise goes unused to deal with difficulties.
4. Persistence is increased to endure challenges.
There are several techniques to set and achieve goals that complement each other so you can use multiple techniques to increase the likelihood of achieving your goal, but one goal-setting technique that has been effective for me is SMART goals. SMART is an acronym with minor variations:
Specific. As discussed earlier, a good goal is specific. Make a goal as specific as possible so expectations are developed, clarity is formed, and the path towards success is evident. A specific goal gives you excellent awareness and understanding of the requirements to achieve it. Develop an exact long-term goal, then break it down into goals for one year, one month, one week, and day-to-day activities.
Measurable. Another common problem discussed earlier is people do not set measurable goals. How can your progress be tracked so you achieve the goal in a set time period? Do your best to quantify your goal. Let’s say your goal is to overcome shyness. Set a measurable goal where you aim to meet and briefly converse with 10 new people next week. The number “10” within 1 week makes this goal measurable and specific. This makes it easy for you to track your progress in becoming a socially confident person.
Attainable. An attainable goal is one that you have or can develop the necessary skills to achieve. You have no doubt heard the saying: “You can achieve anything you want if you set your mind to it.” In other words, if you align your attitude, ability, thoughts, and emotions towards your goal, then it is attainable. An attainable goal is within your potential. A goal within your potential is key to setting SMART goals.
Realistic. A realistic goal is one you believe is reachable. It is related to “Attainable”. An example of a realistic goal is one reached by someone. It is realistic if you have the time and chances to gather the resources to achieve it. (Do not underestimate your ability to gather required resources.) Realism will lead to belief, motivation, and action.
Tangible. Too often goals float around in our minds. Create as many tangible forms of your goal then witness this amazing affect as your goal manifests itself. Write your goals on paper to create tangibility. Hear, see, feel, taste, or smell your goal. Use your five senses to stir a powerful, inner desire to hunt down your goals. Your emotions will intensify with tangible goals. Also, track your progress not based on an uncertain feeling of development, but on tangible changes, this will make you self-motivated. Look for solid evidence that you are progressing towards your goals.
When you set a SMART goal, you create a map for success. You give yourself a challenging yet achievable goal. Master SMART goal-setting and you will have the ultimate skill to get what you want.