The Power of Goal Setting – Part 1 of 2
One thing that is as important as spending the time and effort researching your field and becoming an expert and trusted advisor is the practice of setting goals so that you know what you are working towards. The exercise of setting goals is an interesting topic to discuss. Many of us understand the concept of setting goals, but there are many reasons why we don’t make this an everyday practice. To start, most have never been trained on how to set goals correctly. Historically, many parents have not taught their children how to set goals. If you think about it, you most likely did not have a goal-setting class in grade school or high school. There were no textbooks or subjects on the power of goal setting. As a result, many people do not set goals as they do not want to get teased or ridiculed when they set them. Others fear being rejected or simply fear failure. For whatever the reason may be, the practice of setting goals is not commonplace for most people today.
There is a benefit of setting goals that most people do not realize. A case study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews at the Dominican University found that the mere practice of setting goals would enhance your ability to achieve them by nearly 43%. Furthermore, writing those goals down, creating action steps, sharing them with a friend or accountability partner, and adding progress report updates would raise that achievement percentage up to 76%! That is a staggering revelation! Even the simple practice of creating goals and writing them down will make you twice as likely to achieve them.
The goals that you set need to have certain characteristics as well. The best way to
remember these is to use the mnemonic S.M.A.R.T., created by George Doran, which translates
to Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, and Time related. Let’s explore each of these in
Specific. The goals that you set need to have detail. Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!” You need to make sure you have a target to aim at that is clear and detailed. The detail should be as granular as it can be. For example, if my goal is to have a breakout year in sales, it is lacking details and clarity. How do I define “breakout”? What type of sales am I referring to? In what market will I sell? To whom will I sell? The devil is in the details, and the clarity should be obvious to anyone who reads your goals.
Measurable. This is the area where you will quantify your goals so that anyone reviewing this can have an accurate benchmark to determine if the goal is met or not. For example, if I refer to my previous statement of having a breakout year in sales, I would want to quantify exactly what that means. How much revenue would I sell? How many units would be delivered? How much market share would I capture? How many new customers would I acquire? If I considered my breakout year to equate to $2 million dollars in revenue, then it would be easy to determine if I completed that goal as I have a clear and measurable target. If I reached $2 million, I achieved my goal. If not, I did not achieve my goal. This is pretty straightforward.
Agreed Upon. Agreement in your goal comes from clarifying who is responsible for the achievement of it. If you are setting a personal goal, then you alone are responsible for the outcome. If you are creating goals that involve others, then you will want to make sure to get agreement of the goals that you are committing to. For example, in a sales environment, your goals should be in line with your quota or performance expectations. If this is a team goal, then your team should be able to commit to and agree upon the goal.
Realistic. When setting a goal, you should make sure that it is within the availability of resources, knowledge, and time. While goals can be stretched a bit so that you are pushed to achieve it, there is some common sense that can be applied here. For example, I once wanted to be a contestant on American Idol, but I was always older than the allowed age limit. If I set a goal to be a contestant on that show, it would not have been realistic, as I did not meet the qualifications to be considered. If you are having issue with this or it becomes an area of confusion, ask yourself if the limitation or preventing factor from achieving this goal is true or not. Is this a universal truth or something that you may have made up to get out of doing it?
Time Based. When setting goals, you will want to add details to the time it takes to achieve it. You should make this as specific as possible as well. If I say that I want to weigh 200 pounds next year, then when specifically, would that be? Is it January or December? What day and time do you want to hold yourself to? My weight goal should state that I want to weigh 200 pounds or less by December 1, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. PST. This adds detail to my goal. If you noticed, I also added the “or less” to my goal. This can also be stated as “or something better” and applied to your goals. If my goal is to have $2 million in sales by December 31, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. PST, then I can add “or something better” to it. Perhaps I will have $3 million in sales!
Goals can be, and should be, part of your everyday practice in every area of your life. I would recommend that you set goals in each of the following areas:
Professional (work, career)
Relationships (family, friends, romantic)
Health (fitness, exercise, diet)
Financial (income, net worth)
Recreation (fun time, vacations, hobbies)
Personal (possessions, growth and development, education)
Contribution (philanthropy, community, service)
By setting goals in each of these areas you are setting yourself up for success in every area of your life!
Excerpt from “Capture Your Power in Sales and Business” ©2018