Goals setting is one of the most important tools in the workplace. Goals create a clear roadmap and finish line for all work-related tasks. Achieving them helps actualize the purpose of work and measure its success. With specific goals, you know precisely what you want to achieve and when you intend to achieve it. Goals also have many other benefits:
- Lead to meaningful endeavors, i.e., the objective
- Help strive for important matters
- Reinforce self-confidence
- Provide a sense of accomplishment
- Generate pleasure
Goals Setting as a Lifestyle
Setting Short-term and Long-term Goals
The most significant challenge in setting and achieving goals relates to their scale. Often, we set goals that are too broad, without a clear understanding of how to realistically attain them. On the other hand, setting only small goals doesn’t propel us towards our objective, as this isn’t clearly defined.
In reality, we need both short and long-term goals, each with its crucial roles. A long-term goal usually corresponds to a single objective we aim to achieve. To make reaching this goal feasible, we require smaller and more concrete short-term goals beneath it. These can be as many as needed to match the scope of the primary goal.
Goal Achievement Isn’t Always the Main Point
Surprisingly, goals don’t always need to be achieved. The primary purpose of goals is to support staying on track. Changes occur constantly, including within our value systems. If a goal proves impractical or no longer aligns with your objectives, you can choose a new one. Your previous goal has kept you on track for a while, thus fulfilling its purpose.
The easiest way to goal setting is through the SMART technique. It’s a formula that encompasses five characteristics of an intelligent goal:
- S = specific
- M = measurable
- A = achievable
- R = relevant
- T = time specific
Next, a deeper look into each characteristic.
S – Specifically Defined
A good goal is always as clearly defined as possible. For instance, ‘enjoy life more’ isn’t a specific enough goal, and achieving it isn’t probable. Try considering things that diminish your life’s enjoyment and set your goals around those aspects. If overtime is hindering your life’s enjoyment, an appropriate goal in this case could be ‘Limit work to a maximum of 8 hours a day.’
To enhance goal clarity, consider these questions:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved in this goal?
- Where will I pursue this goal?
- What limitations are associated with this goal?
M – Measurable
A good goal should be measurable, meaning it should have a suitable unit of measurement. These can include school grades, steps tracked by a pedometer, or hours spent using a smartphone. Monitoring your own feelings is also crucial and part of measurement!
Why is measurement so important? It helps assess where you currently stand in achieving the goal. Measurable goals also provide better motivation. A measurable goal should answer:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when the goal is achieved?
A – Achievable
You don’t want your goals to be too easy to achieve, but you want to ensure they are possible. Goals you set for yourself shouldn’t be entirely impossible to reach.
For instance, let’s say you want to learn Spanish to be more competitive in your field. If you’ve never spoken a word of Spanish before, you can’t expect to speak it fluently by next month. That’s simply not an achievable goal.
Instead, you can set a goal to study the language for 20 minutes daily using a language learning app. By making the practice consistent, you set an achievable goal. Too demanding goal setting only leads to frustration and demotivation.
An achievable goal should answer these questions:
- How can I achieve the goal?
- Considering my current circumstances and skills, how realistic is this goal?
R – Relevant
The goal must also be realistic and worth pursuing. This is particularly important in challenging times. If the goal is important and meaningful to you, it’s easier to try again even after failure. A meaningful goal should also be in balance with your life and other objectives; otherwise, you might take two steps back instead of progressing.
Consider these questions:
- Is the goal worth pursuing?
- Is this the right time for the goal?
- Do I have the resources to fulfill this goal?
T – Time-bound
Your goal needs to have an end date. Without a deadline, your project may drag on, success metrics might be unclear, and time might slip away unnoticed. Deadlines create a sense of urgency, helping keep short-term tasks on schedule and preventing them from unnecessarily delaying long-term goals. If you haven’t already, ensure you outline a clear timeline for your project. Deadlines are crucial for achieving goals as they motivate action.
A time-bound goal should address these questions:
- Where will I be with my goal in six months?
- What about in six weeks?
- What can I do today?
Goal Practice: Goals Setting for the End of the Year
We have an exercise for you to practice goal setting. Many of us traditionally set goals for the new year. New year – new life. However, setting goals is a skill that’s good to practice towards the end of the year.
Let’s assume your next goal is to ‘succeed as an entrepreneur.’ This is clearly a long-term goal. To refine this goal, you need a smaller, more concrete goal. How about this: ‘Learn about one important skill for entrepreneurs every day in December’? This goal meets the criteria of the SMART technique: It’s clearly defined, measurable because you can count how many topics you covered. It’s also likely achievable and relevant as it stemmed from a broader goal. Additionally, it’s time-bound as achieving this goal would take a month.
Finally, welcome to Katrium’s Facebook page!
In December, we’ll be sharing knowledge about important entrepreneurial skills in the form of an advent calendar! Each day, you get to open a door discussing one important skill or aspect for entrepreneurs.
Join us, and by the end of December, you’ll have a better grasp of 24 facets of entrepreneurship! The texts aren’t lengthy, but each topic is truly significant. When you internalize all the facets of the advent calendar, you’ll have excellent goal setting and achieving skills! Join the ranks of winners and make 2024 the best year for your business!