It’s January, which usually means it’s time to set some annual goals. These annual goals aren’t a New Year’s Resolution; they are specific goals in your life to strive for or make changes in. When setting annual goals, you want to set no more than 12 goals for the entire year and focus on accomplishing three goals per quarter. The way you write your goals will play a key role in whether you meet your goals. The SMART method will help you effectively approach reaching your goals. The SMART acronym stands for:
- Specific – Increase the chances of accomplishing the goals by making sure they’re well-defined. Determine the who, what, where, when, and why.
- Measurable – Develop criteria for measuring progress towards your goals. Detail the key indicators that will help you decide if and when you reach your destination by quantifying them.
- Achievable – Create attainable and achievable goals by ensuring that you have the skills and resources to reach the goal.
- Relevant – Align your goals with the overall objective of your long-term goals.
- Time-Bound – Give yourself a deadline for reaching your goal to provide a sense of urgency and the opportunity to schedule the steps your plan to take to achieve the goal.
Using the SMART method, you should be aiming to spread out your goals over different portions of your life. You will want some to be personal goals, some to be professional, and others to be aligned with your business or job.
We are all familiar with setting personal goals. It’s probably a safe bet to say that most already have a list put together. A few common examples include losing weight, eating healthy, or going back to the gym. Perhaps you want to read more or write a journal. Others could be getting a certain amount of hours of sleep or walking daily. Look at your daily life and decide if there are any areas that you would like to improve. Once you identify those areas, you can ask yourself how to make positive change.
When I say professional goals, I am focusing on individual professional development. These goals could be considered personal, except that they are aimed towards growth within your career. Perhaps there is a certification or specialized training that you want to acquire. A common goal could be to join a professional network or group or to find a mentor to aid in your growth. We all have long-term professional goals; where do you see yourself in 1 year, five years, etc. Break down the steps you will need to take to reach those lofty long-term goals. Those will become your annual professional goals.
We should also be setting goals for our businesses. You don’t need to be a business owner or department manager to set these goals; we all have some area of a business that we oversee. Treat those no differently and set some goals. This is where you can define how you can help the company achieve its overall objectives. Identify the work you do and how it fits into the company goals. A typical company goal with safety might be geared towards OSHA rates and injuries. Once the company goal is clear, you will have to ask yourself what you could do to help achieve that goal. There are always parts to a whole, and everyone pitches in to help achieve company goals.
Taking time to think through and set annual goals will keep you motivated throughout the year. Work each goal through the SMART acronym focusing on being specific and measurable. Those two parts of the SMART method provide the road map to success. Once you know the smaller steps you need to take to reach the goal, you will work those into your weekly and daily schedules. A great quote by Michael Hyatt is, “What gets scheduled gets done.” Write down your goals using the SMART method and look at them every Monday. By doing so, you are more likely to work in the small steps needed to achieve your goals in your daily schedule. Let’s make 2022 the year of growth!