And so we reach this, the fifth and final part of the series on SMART goals. You’ve decided specifically what it is that you want your goal to achieve, and you’ve considered how you’ll measure how effective you are being in the process of achieving it. You’ve made sure that your goal is achievable, and that it is relevant to your needs and priorities.
All well and good, but when did you want to achieve this objective by, exactly? It’s fine to say that you want to be £1000, £100,000, or £1 million richer, but what good will it do you if you don’t achieve it for another 14 years, 27 years, or some other indeterminate point in the future? I wonder exactly how much £1000 will buy you in 27 years time?
To be a truly SMART goal, it needs to be time bound. You must decide what is a reasonable time-frame by which you will have reached your goal.
Now, it is all too easy to set an arbitrary time-frame, such as one week, month or year from now, or whatever multiples thereof. But, really, why should your business or personal goals be dictated by something as far beyond your control as the movements of a planet around a star? The calendar should only serve as a point of reference. Of course, if your business is seasonal, then it may be reasonable to set a time-frame dictated by the calendar.
The point of the above paragraph is, why should we so often set a goal to be achieved in, say, a year, when it might be perfectly possible to achieve that goal within eight months? Or, why should we set a goal that we might struggle to achieve in a month, if we have a strong chance of managing that goal in six weeks?
It could perhaps be reasonable to set a goal which may be split into elements to be achieved at different set points along a time-line
So, a truly SMART goal might sound something like: “I want my business to generate an additional one and a half million pounds in profit, by adding a further 10,000 internet customers, within the next eighteen months”. This does, of course, assume that this goal passes each element of SMART for your particular business. If not, adjust the figures as necessary.
A more personal goal might sound like: “I want to lose a stone in weight before my spring holiday this year (by careful eating habits), and a further seven pounds (through exercise) before my winter holiday.”
As we reach the end of our series on SMART goals, what new goals might you set yourself? Or do you have any adjustments or additions to the SMART goal process that you already use? Have you successfully achieved some SMART goals? Feel free to share some of your experiences in the comments box.
To tour success, (Hey, that’s a good typo! To tour success sounds like a great trip!)
To YOUR success (ah, that’s better!)