There’s always a smarter way to goal-setting.
And I now know what it is.
It’s about adding an ‘E’ and an ‘R’ to the end of SMART.
But what exactly does that mean?
SMART goals are out, SMARTER goals are IN!
With 2014 just 3 weeks away, now is the PERFECT time to start building momentum and setting yourself up for success in the New Year.
So let’s recap, setting SMART goals is what you should have been doing your whole life.
If you haven’t taken the time out to set SMART goals then I’m quietly confident that you most likely have not been achieving the things that you really want to be achieving deep down inside.
High-performers set goals. There’s no doubt about it. Every great leader and every great success story can be attributed to someone setting a goal and doing what it takes to attain it.
When you have clarity on what you want to do in life and have goals that align to that vision, you’ll be unstoppable.
Let’s take a look at the SMARTER way of goal-setting.
SMARTER is an extension of the goal-setting acronym SMART. The deeper I delve into the study of human performance and human potential, I realise that there have been two essential ingredients missing when it comes to the SMART way of goal-setting. For now, let’s go through the whole SMARTER goal-setting framework.
Your goals need to be specific. A goal that is not clearly defined will leave you unsure of exactly what you need to achieve. Making your goals specific are important to enable to you get absolute clarity on what it is that you want to achieve.
How will you know if you are successful in attaining your goal if it is not specific?
For example, if you have a goal to purchase a home, what kind of home would you like? What’s the location? Is it a house? A Unit? 2 bedrooms? Garage? How much land?
Following on from the above, your goals need to be measurable. It goes hand-in-hand with having a specific goal.
How will you know if you reach your goal if it can’t be measured? How will you know whether you are on track to reaching your goal? The only way to measuring your performance is to actually have a measurement in place!
For example, losing weight is not a goal. That is not specific enough and it has no real measure except the fact that some weight has been lost. How much weight do you want to lose? Is 5kg success to you or is 50kg success to you? In what timeframe? Specific and measurable goals will motivate and drive you to succeed.
Your goals need to be attainable. This means that your goal needs to be realistic and within reach.
Setting a goal that is attainable will enable you to believe it is possible. When you believe something is possible you are much more likely to be motivated in achieving it.
For example, if you set yourself a goal to become an astronaut in the next 12 months, is this attainable? Well, it depends on your background. But for most people, this would be unattainable given this timeframe. An unattainable goal will lead to a belief that it cannot be done and therefore your motivation and drive to work towards the goal will be minimal to none.
The ideal level for a goal to be pitched at is “challenging but achievable… with real, hard work”.
Your goal needs to be relevant to what you want to achieve in the bigger scheme of your life.
This is where your goals and your values align. What is it that is most important to you? When you are working towards a goal that is aligned and congruent with your core values, then your motivation and drive will be absolutely unstoppable as long as you have all other aspects of the SMARTER goal-setting framework included.
For example, if you value health and fitness and have a dream to open up your own fitness centre one day, setting a goal aligned to this would be relevant. However, if you have a goal to open a cupcake store then it’s not going to be aligned with your core value of health and fitness and you will be less likely to stay motivated and committed to your goal.
That’s why it’s so important to understand your values hierarchy which we’ll go through in-depth in the Launch Your Life Academy. What is MOST important to you? Is it health and fitness OR building a business? If it’s building a business, then it doesn’t matter if you’re opening a fitness centre or a cupcake store, you will still be motivated and committed to your goal.
Most of the time when you’re not motivated by a goal, it’s because you have set a goal based on what society thinks you should do. Just remember, you need to live to your truest self and be authentically you… only then does the magic start to happen.
All goals need to have an end-date. A goal without an end-date will give you reason to procrastinate and put off what it is that you want to achieve.
Do you remember back at school, university or college and you had assignments to hand in? Why is it that your goal of completing the assignment was always handed in on time, yet most likely you only did the assignment in the last week? It’s because the goal was time-bound. You needed to achieve something by a particular time.
If your assignments never had an end date, do you think you would have even done the assignments or would you have continued putting them off?
This same principle applies to your everyday life. Give yourself a deadline. What is the drop-dead date for your goal to be achieved by?
As you can see in the picture below, this character set himself a deadline and he’s making a pretty big jump to make sure it happens. How do you apply this currently in your life?
Evaluating your goals is the first addition to the SMART goal-setting framework.
Goals change over time. As you move towards your goals you become clearer as to what it is that you really want to achieve. Your goals will most likely need to change in shape or form to remain aligned to where you want to go in your life.
For example, if you had a financial goal of investing in property to give you financial freedom and you experienced the economic crisis in 2008, do you think you would have needed to re-evaluate your goal? Of course you would. Even if your goal is still to achieve that financial freedom, you would have needed to tweak your timelines, your measures and your plan for attaining that goal.
Continual evaluation of your goals is essential to ensure you remain on path to living your mission in life.
Rewarding yourself for achieving your goal is the second addition to the goal-setting framework.
Positive reinforcement is important when goal-setting. The simple fact of setting a reward to have at the end of the goal can add that extra bit of motivation for you to achieve that goal.
The real benefit, however, is that it’s like Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning experiments. The more you can positively reinforce the behaviours that progress you towards your goals the more you will continue to perform those successful behaviours.
If your goals are closely aligned to your values, then you will most likely be intrinsically motivated to achieving your goals. Still, there is benefit of rewarding yourself. It helps you to build your confidence and train your brain to know that achieving your goals will lead to pleasure of some kind.
SMARTER Goal-Setting in 2014
With the New Year only 3 weeks away, what goals are you going to set that will help you become more of who you truly are and help you live your best life?
Coming in early January, we are opening the doors to the Launch Your Life Academy which is for passionate people looking to set themselves up for success in 2014. With expert training to help you identify exactly what you want to do in life and how to go about getting it, it’s time to get excited 🙂 If you haven’t already, make sure you join our Launch Your Life Insider Team to ensure you’re the first to know when the doors open and have the opportunity to secure your spot.
With only 3 weeks of 2013 to go… now’s the time to be ramping up for a huge start to next year! What goals are you going to set for yourself in 2014 (from day 1!) to ensure you succeed?
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Great article, and I agree, the two additions to the SMART model are vital. Congratulation on your new adventure!
I like your little addition to the traditional SMART goalsetting. Particularly the E. I think it is very important to evaluate and reevaluate your goals. This is the way for continual improvement.
Without an evaluate stage there is no real way for continuing improvement as per the SMART system. Great additions. Bravo.
Indeed. The thing is, if you DON’T evaluate / revise your goals over time you can end up focusing on something that is not where you want to go or won’t help you get to where you want to go.
Particularly in today’s day and age where technology and the world economy is changing so rapidly, revision is absolutely crucial to ensure you stay on track.
Absolutely…… couldn’t agree more Brendan.
Evaluation allows you to review where you are, against where you have been and allows you to decide on new actions to take you where you choose to go next.
Rewards for your efforts make goals more attainable because they now have an “output” reward in relation to the use of your time as well as the overall goal attainment “outcome”. Win Win!
You got that right! 🙂
The reward has multiple benefits. As you say, providing some extrinsic motivation as well as reinforcing the behaviours you do that progress you towards your goals…. it’s all Win! =D