As is my annual tradition,
If it’s time for you to set those once-a-year resolutions that you know will fade by March, then this article is not for you.
But if you are ready to make a long-term commitment to achieving higher levels of performance and having more satisfaction in life, then consider getting serious about goal-setting:
*Set goals as outcomes – on what you really want, not the activities that may lead toward them.
*Make sure that all your goals are SMRT: Specific, Measurable, Relevant, Time-Bound
*Use the right “A” in your SMART goal formula. All goals need to be SMRT. But to be SMART you need to pick the “A” that is right for your situation. Here are your options:
- Attainable Goals, which you have an 80+% chance of accomplishing, are good if failing will have many negative consequences. Attainable goals are good to build some momentum with easy wins, or to learn more about new environments, or if you are concerned about getting discouraged.
- Aggressive Goals, which you have a 35% chance of accomplishing, will improve your performance. Research shows that the more difficult the goal, the higher the level of performance.* If you feel like you have a good system and you want to maximize performance of it, then this method will help you do it.
- Almost Impossible Stretch Goals, which you have a 1% chance of accomplishing, will require you to design innovative ways of going about accomplishing your goal. “Working harder” on the same process won’t do it. You have an opportunity for breakthrough performance with Almost Impossible Stretch Goals.
*Celebrate Noble Failure. If you are inspired to pursue a goal and you go for it, but you don’t make it all the way, then appreciate the progress you have made and appreciate that you worked hard at something you really cared about. This mind-set will bring you more long-term success than letting the fear of failure keep you from doing what truly inspires you.
I provide more extensive detail on goal setting in this article, The Power of Goals. If you use these principles and apply them to your personal and work life then I promise you much higher levels of performance, fulfillment, and satisfaction. But it only works if you take it on as a true, committed discipline – not a once a year fad. Good luck with all of your goals!
*A Theory of Goal Setting & Task Performance, by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham