Reflecting on the past 12 months, planning for the next year, and reviewing my 5-year plan are the favourite things that I do this time of the year. Setting short and long term goals gives me something to look forward to and something to strive for. Being able to tick them off once I have reached them gives me an incredible sense of achievement and pride.
Writing down goals is valuable in that it will give your dreams a little structure, some concrete boundaries and guidelines for you to achieve them using a step-by-step process.
Goals also keep you looking ahead, instead of worrying about what went wrong in the past. Goals will also keep you accountable, as you will be able to see in black and white, how close you came to actually achieving them, or surpassing them. Finally, I find goals quite motivating. Success is the best motivator. There is nothing like that adrenalin rush you get when you pull something off. You put in hard work and you were rewarded. More of that please! You will move heaven and earth to make some time to get that stuff done because you know it works. It feels good to win.
I have two favourite strategies I have found are great when setting goals. One is S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound and the other is BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
So firstly, I will explain S.M.A.R.T. goals:
S – Specific
The more specific you can be with writing down your objective, the easier it will be to clearly see what it is you need to accomplish. Often, answering the five “W” questions—Who, What, Where, Why, and Which — can help you achieve greater specificity.
M – Measurable
Can your goal be measured? How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
A – Attainable
Another way of putting this is “realistic.” Is it possible to achieve the goal you have set for yourself?
R – Relevant
For businesses, a relevant goal means that it has the potential to affect your business objectives, vision, or values.
T – Time-bound
Give your goal a deadline.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are one of the longest-lasting, most popular goal-setting frameworks for business. Peter Drucker, the founder of modern business management, often is credited for coming up with the basis for S.M.A.R.T.
My second favourite and fun goal setting strategy is BHAG (pronounced BEE-hags). These are Big Hair Audacious Goals.
BHAGs tend to be big-picture goals with a visionary aspect, such as Richard Branson’s plans for Virgin Galactic to bring space travel to the masses.
A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.
So BHAGs are really 10 or 20 year plans that may or may not come off, but boy, it is fun dreaming and then possibly achieving some of these goals.
What are you waiting for? Start writing now and good luck. I hope you achieve your dreams!
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