06 May Make your dream smart in 5 steps
What’s your dream? More importantly what are you going to do to make it a reality? Step one is to write it down, commit to it and make it smart. But what “smart” actually means is one of the most common questions I’m asked by clients looking to excel in their performance and productivity. In this post, I elaborate on what a smart goal is and how a powerful SMART goal can be expressed.
To make your goal smart you need to consider whether it is:
Be precise in what you want. A large part of my clients when they first start talking about financial goals say “I would like to be a millionaire” or “I would like to be financially independent”. The first follow-up question I then ask to reflect over is: What does this mean to you? For some individuals, it means 2 million SEK for others $100 million. The answer is always varied and is usually connected to different kind of lifestyles and dreams.
In one sentence: Remember to be as precise as possible in what you want.
Make the goal as quantifiable as possible. If you are looking to advance in your career, which position and company are the targets? If you are looking to start a company, when will you feel that you have achieved that goal; when the business website is launched? When have you gotten your first paying client? Or when you are grown to another market? Many of us have different ideas and perceptions of what a word or formulation mean to us under a specific period, so in order to really be able to track your progress over time be as clear as possible what you really mean in the moment of writing your goal down.
In one sentence: Make the goal clear, measurable and trackable.
The goal needs to be aligned with other goals and also given priority. It’s important that you feel challenged by it but at the same time keeping it achievable.
In one sentence: Keep it achievable and challenging.
Make the goal relevant for you today, your current lifestyle and in alignment with your priorities. Also, remember the opportunity cost of putting the goal off for the future and what that really cost you. Ensure that the goal is something with a true meaning for you today and not who you were ten years ago.
In one sentence: Keep it relevant and meaningful to you as you are right now.
Related readings: Have you considered your alternative costs?
When do you want it to be a reality? Napoleon Hill reminds us that “a goal is a dream with a deadline”, so make sure to set a deadline or a date when you are looking to see this goal achieved.
In one sentence: Decide on a deadline for your goal and commit to it.
A few examples
Below you find three examples of how goals usually are expressed by clients before they are made smart.
Overall target – Realizing an entrepreneurial dream
The wrong way: I want to have my own firm.
The smart way: I want to start a scalable business in the travel industry starting with the UK as a test market together with my old colleague Daniel in London by August 2013.
Overall target – Advancement in one’s career
The wrong way: I want to a new job.
The smart way: I want to excel in my career by working at TGC as a sales manager for the Nordic market by December 2013.
Overall target – More money
The wrong way: I want to be financially independent.
The smart way: I want to be able to invest $100,000 as an angel investor, buy a second home in Brazil and have $2 million in stocks and cash by January 2016.
Related readings: It’s time to achieve your goals
What’s your goal?
Post your goals in the comments and I’ll show you how to make them SMARTer. Or contact me directly to help you develop your goals to make them more actionable, measurable and attainable.