When it comes to entrepreneurship, setting your goals is step one, and arguably the most important step in the game of business. Jack Welch says, “Control your destiny, or someone else will.” As an entrepreneur, if you are not actively setting goals, everyone and everything can and will control your destiny; the market, your circumstances, your employees, friends, family – anyone, and everything. But is it enough to just set the goals? Absolutely not. A favorite quote of mine as a business coach, one that is often a reminder to stay focused is when Guy Kawasaki says, “Ideas are easy, implementation is hard.” What if there was something you could do to make your goals a little bit easier to reach, or at least easier to implement the steps to get there? This, my exuberant, fast-paced, driven comrade, is when we begin discussing S.M.A.R.T. goals… I mean who ever liked dumb goals anyway.
1 – Specific
This is one of my favorite criteria. This is the part where you define your goals, and you don’t let yourself get off with a technicality. Do you remember as a kid, when you used to say, “Technically you said I couldn’t have any ice-cream tonight? You didn’t say I couldn’t this afternoon.” That little rebel without a cause still lives inside of you. You MUST be specific about your goals. Even if it wasn’t to your benefit to keep yourself accountable, specific goals are quantifiable goals. Quantifiable goals allow you to break them down, create a plan for how you can reach your goals, and take off!
2 – Measurable
Similar to specific, measurable goals help you get there sooner too. If your goals are measurable, you know what works and what doesn’t. Therefore, you continue down the path with what is working, make smarter decisions, and ultimately force you to measure what you treasure by taking a look every single day.
3 – Actionable
If you follow my blog, or if you listen to the Thrivetime Show podcast, or if you are born on this earth, I shouldn’t have to explain this one. To quote someone way more profound, brilliant and successful than myself, Thomas Edison says, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” I, as a business coach, rest my case.
4 – Realistic
Personally, I’m 5”1’. The problem with that is that I have never, will never, and REALISTICALLY cannot ever beat Michael Jordan in basketball. Now, I personally don’t care to try as a business coach. But if I did, let’s be REAL, it’s not likely. I mean, the odds are slim to none. Now, could I set a goal to work harder than Michael Jordan, yes. That’s in my control. My height and my athletic ability simply are not. Beating Michael Jordan in basketball is not a smart goal.
5 – Time Defined
If there is no time limit on something, it simply will not get done. If you’re like most of us, there are priorities coming at you all day long. Unless a particular action item is calling and demanding your attention right then and there, it can easily move to the back burner to something with a higher priority tag, and usually does. If you commit to yourself that you are taking one action item every single day to get closer to your goals, good for you. You owe yourself that.
Obviously, there are still many steps to achieving your goals. Every business coach realizes we don’t just make a quick little chat, snap our fingers and all of our dreams come true. But I do know, whether you are an entrepreneur, or a highly-motivated employee with an ambition lid that is about to overflow, or an aspiring athlete, dancer, model, astronaut, doctor, or even if you want to be Britney Spears (impossible because she’s the Princess of Pop), make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. before you invest a lifetime achieving something that, at the end of the day, is not S.M.A.R.T. and ultimately a waste of time.