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Goal Setting Done Right

Goal setting done right: SMART goals

If goal setting is your thing for 2020, let’s do it right.

For many who have worked with us, goal setting happens in the earliest sessions. Often it starts as fairly broad- I enjoy asking how my clients know when they can “fire me”, AKA, graduate. For those that have an idea of this in their heads already, then it’s time to figure out the roadmap from where they are now, sitting on my couch, to whatever that finish line looks like for them.

SMART goal setting is used for time management, therapy, performance plans, and more.  Despite most people being aware of this framework, every year when New Years resolutions come around again everyone says vague goals like “lose weight”, “make more money”, “be more present with family”.

But what exactly does that mean?

(Therapists love acronyms, did you know that?)

S: Specific

This is your why, your buy-in, and what will really drive you to want to work on your goal. I think most of us would agree that it would be lovely to lose a couple pounds, be filthy rich, and snuggle our kids more. But let’s hash it out a bit more.

Example 1: I want to increase my healthy lifestyle choices so that I can improve my cholesterol numbers, play longer with my kids without fatigue, and dig out those old jeans I’ve had in my closet for the last two years.

There’s a lot of buy-in with this example. There’s health, happiness, and presumably some great clothes on the line.

Example 2: I want to streamline my processes and target my marketing to higher-paying clientele, which will allow me to make more money and work fewer hours so I can have more time for the activities I enjoy.

Again, we would all love to make more money- but what would more money mean to you?  Could you contribute to a charity? Volunteer more?  Learn how to surf? Weed your garden?

Example 3: I will reduce my social media time, turn off my work emails, and let the dishes sit in the sink so that I can read the Harry Potter series to my kids each night before bed.

Spoiler alert, much of the reason we aren’t very “present” these days has to do with our phones.

M: Measurable

How will you know your goal is accomplished?  In Example #1, the lab results and the ability to fit into your jeans help you know if you’re progressing. In #2, hopefully you have a solid P&L. For #3, you’ll be able to measure your success based on if you’re actually upstairs reading each night.  If you’re a stickler and you want to keep track, make notes in a journal or on a calendar.

A: Attainable/Achievable

I often wish “attainable” came first so folks remember to keep this in mind from the beginning. It also goes hand-in-hand with being specific- losing 20 pounds may not be attainable for you (a great question to ask a doctor). Becoming the CEO of Apple may not be attainable. But gaining skills to gain a promotion within the tech field?  Completely possible.

R: Relevant

Is what you’re working on appropriate for your life right now?  What about, is it timely? How does it line up with the rest of your goals in life?

I’m reminded of an example from several years back when a client told me they would like to learn Japanese and move overseas. Amazing, super fun goal. The issue that made this (perhaps) untimely?  We were chatting while waiting for a meeting with their probation officer. We added “get off paper” as part of the “specific” portion of their goal.

T: Time-bound

Making things time-bound helps prevent procrastination and makes sure that you remember to focus on this bigger goal-setting versus getting wrapped up in our typical day-to-day junk. You can create mile markers for each month or quarter. For example, in 2019 my goal was one race per month. This is still my goal for 2020, but I also expect that those races will be fewer 5ks and more half marathons.  Full marathon, here I come!

So, what goal-setting do you want to get SMART about?

(See what I did there?)

Contact us today if you would like help with goal setting done right.

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