Thursday, September 18, 2008

Specific goals

Now that you know why and how to start making goals, I will cover the concept of SMART goals--specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. SMART goals support your efforts to achieve them!

Today, we focus on making goals specific. This is critical for effective goal setting. The more specific the goal, the better. If you have a clear picture of what your goal looks like, then you’ll know definitively when you’ve achieved it! You may have started this process by naming what you want and creating your dream board.

In their powerful book The Aladdin Factor, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen discuss how to get everything you want. The primary exercise of the book is to make a list of 101 things you want. (Try it! It’s surprisingly difficult to come up with a list that long.) The key is to get super-specific. Instead of writing “I want a sports car,” you write something like “I want a midnight blue ragtop Mazda RX-8 with a manual 6-speed transmission, fog lamps, cruise control, leather interior, kicking stereo, and GPS.” The more specific you are, the more focused you will be in achieving your goals.

For instance, when making career goals, the more specific you can get, the better off you’ll be! Following are some very nonspecific goals.

  • I want to make more money
  • I want to get promoted
  • I want to lead a team
  • I want to be a better leader

To make these goals much more specific, you can reframe them as follows.

  • I want to make at least $1500/week, $6000/month, $75,000/year
  • I want to get promoted to Assistant Division Manager
  • I want to lead a 12-person development team
  • I want to spend 10 hours per month coaching and training my employees

When you focus on a specific thing you want, your brain is able to focus attention and intention on it, attracting positive energy around your desires. This is essentially the Law of Attraction at work!

You may have a large, overarching goal that you can’t make specific, for instance, “being a better spouse” or “being the best parent I can be.” Often, you can break down a larger desire into more specific goals, such as the following.

“Being a better spouse” might break down into “I will have at least two specifically set-aside ‘date nights’ with my spouse each month.” “I will take two long vacation weekends with just my spouse (no kids) each year.” “I will spend at least 10 minutes just listening to my spouse each day.” “I will do something loving and kind for spouse at least once each week.”

“Being the best parent I can be” may break down into the following subgoals: “I will spend a half hour reading to my kids every day”; “I will help my child review his or her homework every night.” “I will plan three fun activities a week to spend time with my children.”

Look at your list of goals, and make sure they are specific enough that you know when you’ve achieved them!

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