Variety is the spice of life, or so it’s said, and to ensure that we offer variety, I’m going to write about another methodology that can be utilised for goal setting. Setting goals is one of the first steps on the path to success. When you can create a vision of what you are setting out to achieve, and be clear of the steps needed to get there, understand what skills will be needed and what the risks are so they can be mitigated, then the chances of hitting that goal sooner are far higher than if you just set out in a general direction and fly by the seat of your pants and hope it all goes well. In this article I’m going to describe the elements involved in using the SMARTIE Goal method.
SMARTIE Goals – What are They?
SMARTIE Goals stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound, Inspired, Ecological, which when each of the elements are in place, creates a detailed and compelling goal that draws you towards the desired outcome. As mentioned in the Well Formed Outcome article, the aim is to get as detailed as you possibly can to ensure you’re as crystal clear on your goal as you can possibly be, and then break it down into smaller, achievable tasks. This way any goal, no matter how big, can be achieved in ‘bite sized pieces’, rather than dealing with something completely overwhelming.
Take for example a desire to earn an extra $50,000 in the next year through property investment. If that single sentence was the sum total of the goal, then you’d be at a loss as to where to start and how you would go about achieving it.
When filling out each of the steps, the more specific you can be the better. Remember, the idea is to make it sensory rich and compelling. By doing so you’ll not only get a clear picture of the outcome, you’ll also start to create the neural connections in your brain that will make the goal part of your reality and assist drawing you towards the outcome.
While I’m touching on the brain, and making connections, some people suggest regular visualisation, or repeated writing of goals to ensure it gets wired tight. I’m not suggesting that these don’t work, what I am suggesting is we’re all different, some people visualise well, while for others repeated affirmations are the best way to become one with the goal. Find out which works best for you by experimenting and finding out which gives you the best results.
SMARTIE Goals – How to Build Them
You get into quite a bit of detail when creating SMARTIE Goals, so I thought it might describe what each of the elements are for, and then you can go away and develop your own.
Specific – The first step when developing SMARTIE Goals is to develop a specific criteria rather than something more global and ambiguous. The details for this section are compiled by providing answers for the 5 ‘W’ questions:
- What – what do you want?
- Why – why do you want it?
- Who – who is involved?
- Where – where will it happen?
- Which – requirements and constraints
Measureable – The second criteria highlights the need to have a criteria for measuring success and progress. The measureable aspects are uncovered by answering the ‘H’ questions:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it’s accomplished?
Attainable – While some may see the word attainable and think ‘achievable within my current frame of thinking’, this is not the case. SMARTIE Goals that are going to stretch you have more value than one that is easily obtained. When a goal appears out of reach, but is still inspiring enough to chase after, you soon begin to develop the attitudes, abilities and skills to achieve them. It’s amazing how when one truly commits to something, even if it seems out of reach, how all sorts of resources and opportunities that seemingly appear out of nowhere to assist in the achievement of the goal. The question to ask here is:
- How can the goal be achieved?
Relevant – This is about choosing goals that matter. Goals that have a relevance to ones life, or other projects that you’re involved in are much more likely to get done. The energy and drive will be there to ensure actions are taken that will secure the outcome.
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match other efforts or needs?
- Is the result applicable in the current environment?
Time-bound – Making something time bound focuses energy on the outcome and the milestones along the way. Open ended goals aren’t really goals, they’re just dreams that may or may not happen, and I might suggest, without a timeframe, it’s almost as if it’s not that important to achieve the outcome. Including a time component is is one of the strengths of the SMARTIE Goal process. Questions to answer here are:
- When will I have it? (the goal)
- What will I have done in 90 days?
- What will I have done in 60 days?
- What will I have done in 30 days?
- What will I have done in 7 days?
- What do I need to do today?
Inspired – This criteria is the emotional component of the goal. If it’s not something that brings you alive and energises you, then it may well be worth asking the questions:
- Do I really want this?’ or alternately,
- What do I really want?
Other questions that may uncover inspired SMARTIE Goals are:
- If a miracle occurred overnight, and I woke up knowing that I’d achieved my dreams, how would I know?
- If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I like to achieve?
- If I knew not getting the goal didn’t mean anything about me, what would I most like to achieve?
Ecological – Perhaps surprisingly, this is one of the more important aspects of setting any goal. The questions to ask yourself here will help you decide whether or not this fits in with who you are, your current lifestyle, and the things that are important to you, for example family. Questions are:
- Does achieving this goal fit in with who I currently am?
- Will achieving this goal hurt me, or anyone I care about?
What Next for Setting Goals?
Whether you want to use SMARTIE Goals or the Well Formed Outcome, your first step on the road to success is to write your goals down. Try to describe what you want in as much detail as you possibly can. You want to make it as sensory rich and as exciting and compelling for yourself as you possibly can. There’s not much chance that you’re going to put a lot of energy into something that bores you to tears!
Get out there, experiment and set goals, find something, big or small and start on it. Once you’ve set the goal, don’t forget to take action. Just because you’ve gone through the process of writing the goal down, it doesn’t mean it’s going to magically happen. Also, remember to experiment with visualisation, affirmations or writing the goal down, we’re all different, so
In the next post I intend to cover off goal setting by understanding and utilising ‘meta programs’, which are programs we all run outside of our conscious awareness. We use these programs to sort and filter information, and they assist us by directing our thought patterns and behaviour, and they’re context specific. By understanding which programs we run, and what our preferences are, we can then set goals that are tailor made just for us, giving us that much more opportunity to achieve the things we desire.