“Those who fail to plan; plan to fail” – Benjamin Franklin. This is why you need SMART goals.
Think of it this way. If you were traveling from Southern California to upstate New York, do you think you would just hop in the car and drive? Or do you think you might check which roads go through to that area?
Some will be more specific and find out which places to buy gas so that you get the best price. Others will check motel prices along the way and even make reservations. The amount of planning varies by person, but you need to have a plan if you want to achieve your goal.
The same is true with money. If you want to achieve your desired dreams, you will need to have a goal and “plan a route.”
And for those groaning that today will be lame, I totally understand. I am a free spirit and this lesson is as much for me as anyone. But being flexible in how you arrive at the goal is important too.
If there were a road closure would you not detour and go around? Life is filled with detours and unforeseen circumstances. So you want to plan something, but be willing to take a slightly different path if the one your on is not working.
Smart Goals will set you on the correct path.
You must have a final destination in mind. Otherwise you will not know when you arrive. It is not enough to say I want to arrive in Albany, New York. Instead you will need to say I want to arrive at 1234 Main street. A specific time is even better, with regard to goal setting.
Your sub conscious mind will work to solve problems you offer it. These problems to solve are really just goals. Your mind will need a specific solution. It does not work toward the vague.
As an example, someone might say they have a goal to make more money.
A Smart goal is specific. Instead of wishing for more money, plan to make an extra dollar an hour or an extra five thousand a month. Once you set a specific goal, your mind can start working on possible ways to make that happen.
How do you know if you have are making progress? If you have been specific, you know when you finally arrived. How do you know if you are making progress, stalling or moving in the wrong direction?
In the travel scenario, you can measure the distance between where you started and where you are. You can also measure the distance between where you are and where you want to be.
Financially, you should be able to measure your progress as well. You should see if the action plan you made is actually bringing you closer to your goal or not. This is where it is good to be flexible. Avoid what is not working.
Smart goals must be measured. Check your progress at least once a week.
I know other people have a different A, but Action is super important. It is not enough to have a plan. You must work the plan. So make sure you have action steps.
Ideally, you will have action steps to take daily. Depending on the depth of your plan, this can be hourly, daily, weekly etc. Make sure you take some action every day toward your goal.
Even if it is a little progress, some progress is always better than no progress.
Smart Goals require daily action.
A goal to get the moon is great. This only works if you have a real rocket and the real training that is involved. Otherwise it is a pipe dream and you won’t go anywhere at all.
An important note: don’t base realistic on what you have achieved in the past. Set it as something that is beyond where you have been, but not so far that it is impossible. Don’t be afraid to redefine what is possible. Just don’t plan to defy gravity without deep study.
Flying without a machine may be impossible. But you can easily set a realistic goal where you plan to take a trip in a plane. But there was a time when people thought that would never be a realistic idea. So stretch! Make smart, realistic goals.
Just like your mind needs a specific goal, you also need a deadline. Without a fixed date and time, you will wonder aimlessly. Your mind will never put attention to the goal because it can happen “whenever.”
A goal may be missed by that deadline. Give yourself more time. It may turn out that you achieve your goal much earlier. This is a good time to celebrate.
SMART goals are very important. If you make a plan with these principles in mind, you can achieve your hearts desires. Decide today how you can reach your goal. Set a specific goal and make a plan to achieve it. My next post will be on the planning phase.
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