Goals must be SMART:
- Specific - Goals must be explicitly defined in plain language and without ambiguity. Any adult should be able to look at your goals and see exactly what you're trying to achieve.
- Measurable - Goals should be objectively measurable through quantitative measurement. Any adult should be able to measure exactly how much of your goal was achieved.
- Achievable - Goals must be grounded in reality, but still scare you personally. You want your goals to be challenging and inspiring, but not something humanly impossible. For instance, you probably can't fly to Mars this year - but you probably could in 20-years...
- Relevant - Goals must be aligned with who you are, the type of work you enjoy, and your ultimate mission in life. Goals also must not conflict with your values, principles, or primary motivations.
- Time-bound - Goals must have a start-date and a deadline attached to them. Deadlines help prioritize and plan realistically. While you may achieve a goal without a deadline, you'll have trouble achieving many goals and staying consistently productive. You can't consistently keep achieving more goals without effective time-binding your goals.
Ultra-productive people will add ER (SMARTER) to their Goals:
- Evaluated - Goal execution must be evaluated regularly by a manager to coach & expedite. For you personally, this is what the Goal-Tracking System is used for (along with the Weekly Check-In Process).
- Revisited - Goal execution must be revisited after completion to see if objective has been achieved. Penetrating questions are asked at this point in a tear-down process. For you personally, this is covered with the Goal-Tracking System along with the Quarterly & Annual Reviews.
Additional tips on setting effective goals:
- Goals should always start with a verb like do, get, make, give (see PDF below for more examples).
- Your goals must be exciting and inspiring. They can not bore you or feel monotonous. Entrepreneurs must continue to challenge themselves to keep growing. If you know you can achieve your goal, then you're not aiming high enough. You should be a little unsure if you can achieve each goal.
- Don't worry about exactly how you'll achieve each goal during this process. Right now we're in a purely inspirational space, where we're visualizing to define our ideal outcomes. Let's find what drives us now, and figure out how to achieve it later. With how the Goal-Tracking System works, you'll naturally be adjusting goals over time anyways. What's most important is you set the right goals now, so you don't run into chronic uncertainty and indecisiveness later in the year.
- It's almost always a bad idea to share your goals with other people. Research has shown that telling others about your goal before it's been achieved significantly decreases your likelihood to achieve the goal. Your brain will become addicted to the positive social feedback of telling others about what you will achieve, and your subconscious will lose it's motivation to struggle and achieve it. You should only share your goals with 1 or 2 ultra-supportive people, and almost never share it outside of them.
- Writing down your goals is important, but it's much more important to check back on them. Goals are not useful unless they're actually guiding your action and behavior. Use the Goal-Tracking System along with the Weekly Check-In Process to make this easy.
- Setting effective goals is a skill like anything else. The first time you do it, you will probably suck at it. Over time, you'll develop the skill of setting effective goals one-after-another. This is one of the most essential skills required for successful entrepreneurs.
Examples of Good/Bad Goals:
- Be a better parent - Great...how are you going to do that specifically? When are you going to do it? How will you know if it's done? (SMART)
- Publish a book - When are you going to do that? What's the book about? Does writing a book leverage into any of your other activities, or is it unrealistically time-consuming? (SMART)
- Lose 15 pounds - Getting better, but when are you doing this by? (SMART)
- Play in an NBA Game - Depending on your age, this might be a good long-term goal. But for most, this is unrealistic and irrelevant from your current life. (SMART)
- Make $20,000 more this year - This is a good goal. Any adult could look at this goal at any point during the year, and immediately know if it's been achieved or not. It's time-bound, achievable, and relevant. (SMART)
- Launch my personal brand website by June 1st - This is a great goal. Beyond making more money, you've identified a leading objective which will produce outcomes you're looking for. Any adult could look and see if this has been achieved. (SMART)