I have a confession: Goals and I have not always gotten along. I know, I know- they’re essential to prosperity and focus and all that. But sometimes they can feel overwhelming and loom so large they can be easy to abandon midstream, especially when they begin to feel like they’re becoming more trouble than they’re worth.
Not long ago I came across a piece on Inc. where best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, Peter Economy, offered a fresh take on goal setting. Right away I realized something: maybe it wasn’t the goal itself that was giving me trouble, but rather, the way I was framing it.
All these years I had been setting SMART goals, but this modern perspective made things much CLEARer.
What’s wrong with SMART?
Nothing really. If it works for you, by all means, stick with it. For me, though, it’s too broad and permissive, leaving too much wiggle room.
For those of you who may not be familiar with SMART goals, here’s my take:
SMART goals are:
Detail the big three: your ‘What‘, ‘How‘, and your ‘Why‘.
[The What] Grow my email list by 20% in the next 90 days [The How] through creative campaigns and offering more exclusive, engaging content [The Why] so my readers feel more connected to our message and are willing to share.
The indicators and metrics you will you will use to see that the goal has been successfully met.
In the above example:
“My list contains 1,000 subscribers currently. If I meet my goal, three months from today, I will have 1,200 subscribers.”
Make your goals ‘do-able‘. When you set the bar too high, you risk feeling as though you failed. Your goals should be challenging, but not overly daunting. Based on the factors at hand, including the current market environment, your skills, ability, and budget– ask yourself if the goal is realistic.
The outcomes should focus on the aftermath of your efforts. Did you achieve what you set out to accomplish? How will you benefit from having achieved this goal? What’s next?
Without a time limitation, goals have a way of becoming diluted or perhaps even disappearing altogether. Create a feasible sense of urgency to push yourself beyond complacency or stagnation.
The Case For Clarity.
In his article, Economy discusses CLEAR goals, a concept forged by motivational speaker and former Olympic rower, Adam Kreek. A self-proclaimed ‘expert in high-performance’ Kreek feels that this new ideology is paramount to productivity.
CLEAR goals are:
I’ve broken down the elements and why I feel each is important in today’s marketplace.
A knotty puzzle may hold a scientist up for a century, when it may be that a colleague has the solution already and is not even aware of the puzzle that it might solve. -Isaac Asimov
If you believe, like I do, that we all have a unique and important perspective, then it truly behooves you to take pause and listen, bounce things off one another. Even as a solopreneur or microbusiness owner. With online networking groups, forums, social media it’s never been easier to connect and collaborate with others. Nor has there been a better time to do so.
The competition is thick out there. By putting your heads together you’re bound to come up with a well-rounded perspective far more powerful than a singular one.
By surrendering conceit and moving into a collaborative mindset, we open ourselves to possibilities and can achieve so much more.
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. -John Wooden
We live in an age of excess. But through the minimalism movement we’re seeing the value of the ‘less-is-more’ concept. The word ‘limited’ comes with a twinge of negativity in that it feels we aren’t all in. But by focusing on each little piece we can hone in and focus on each specific part and take calculated steps to the top of the mountain. When we feel overwhelmed we risk being stalled into inaction.
Dream your dream; and realize that you are more than just the dreamer, you are the point of origin for its reality. -Steve Maraboli
Impassioned goals are enthusiastically pursued. Emotion is a strong driver. The more something means to you, personally, the greater the chance that you’ll go after it. When you’re inspired, you tend to stay on track and do so with greater devotion. By injecting passion into our goal we increase its chances of being achieved
You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain. -Tom Hiddleston
Remembering the strides you’ve made thus far makes it easier to stay on track when you feel like giving up. By breaking the task up into smaller pieces and creating waypoints, you keep yourself encouraged and can reflect on your progress. Celebrate your successes, and learn from those that fell short.
He who is flexible masters the day. -Todd Stocker
Overly stringent goals can thwart progress. Allow yourself the grace to distill some elements of the original goal and flex without breaking. Life happens. Be willing to adapt and modify in accordance with the (sometimes unpredictable) realities of your situation.
I’m happy to announce that goals and I are in a better place now. I have a newfound romance with getting things done strategically as opposed to by chance. It’s left me more time to do the things I love to do and I have never felt so accomplished.
In the comments tell us how you feel about the concept of CLEAR goals. What methodologies you employ in your goal setting efforts?
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