By now, you’ve set solid goals for the New Year and scheduled the tactics to reach your goal. If you haven’t done that yet, you still have time to create a plan for the new year.
Many people choose weight loss as a goal, so I’ll use that idea as an example. Know that these goal-setting tactics can and should apply to anything you want to achieve. The process follows.
Create SMART Goals
The first step is to write down your goals and make sure they are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. A goal is not in the typical New Year’s Resolution format of “I want to lose weight.” That’s a desire. To get it to goal status, you must put it into a format that includes the SMART attributes. So, “I will lose 30 lbs. by December 31 through good nutrition and exercise so that my joints don’t ache all the time” is a goal.
Break down your SMART goal:
- Specific = you want to lose 30 lbs by December 31 through good nutrition and exercise so your joints don’t ache all the time. You’ve identified the who, what, when, how, and why.
- Measurable = you have designated a number of pounds, 30lbs, and a due date, Dec. 31. You can measure your progress and you will know if you achieved it.
- Attainable = assuming this isn’t a huge percentage of your body weight, or you don’t have something like an injury holding you back, this is most likely an attainable goal, plus you’ve defined how (nutrition and exercise)
- Relevant = your joints ache, so this is very relevant to you
- Timely = you set an end date
A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true. – Greg Reid
Goal Setting Tactics
You can’t just hop on the scale on December 31 and expect that you’ve lost weight without planning how you will do it. To achieve your goal, there must be a plan to get you there. Goals without plans are likely to remain wishes or dreams. Write down the steps to take with target dates to work toward achieving a goal. It’s like project management for your dreams. For it to become an actual plan, you have to break it down into smaller portions with deadlines, just like you would for project management.
Planning goal setting tactics:
- Set a reminder to weigh in on the first day to have something to measure against.
- Create a task on your to-do list to make an appointment to join a gym.
- Schedule an appointment with yourself on your calendar to research and learn about better nutrition.
- Note: if additional steps come from your research, you will need to schedule them as well.
- Designate time in your day to prepare your meals and eat regularly.
- Block time on your calendar to exercise.
- Put a repeating event on your to-do list to plan your meals for the week.
- Add a recurring calendar event to go grocery shopping.
- If you are joining a community for accountability, be sure to schedule those meetings on your calendar as well.
Change Your Plan When There’s a Setback
Now that you have a plan, you have to check in regularly to make sure you are on target to hit your goal in time. What do you do if something has thrown your goal off kilter? For example, the gym membership was too expensive and you had to find alternative exercise methods. Or, worse, you sprained your ankle and need to swim instead of run. A change, unexpected or not, doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goal; but you will need to adjust your plan or improve your processes around making it happen, like preparing healthy meals so you’re not tempted to order pizza.
The takeaway? Goals are an ongoing process. You don’t set them and ignore them until they’re due.
Plan to Achieve Your Goals
Set recurring to-dos on your calendar to check in with yourself on your goals. Depending on your goal, that check-in might be monthly or quarterly. In the weight loss example, you might want to weigh yourself weekly to measure your results.
Don’t be a dreamer. Be an achiever! Use these goal-setting tactics to know where you’re heading and how you will get there.
Business goals often involve more complex planning and follow-through. Helping small business owners set goals, plan, develop and track the process to achieve them is exactly what we do at BTC. Get in touch to get the help you need to succeed.
See the complete guide to successful business operations for more information.