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I know and teach about SMART goals. The problem is that I don’t always follow the template for a SMART goal. What do I get? I get a dumb goal that often does not hit the target (even if I hit the goal). Have you done that before?

So let’s review a SMART goal:

S – Specific. The devil is in the details. When negotiating a settlement in mediation, details matter. Often, the details are submitted to the courts or drafted into business agreements or settlements. Be specific. Know when you have hit the target because you painted the target bright red.

M – Measurable. Whatever gets measured gets done, or at least gets evaluated objectively. Money and products can be measured more easily than services. You need to measure services as objectively as possible to remove the emotions from the findings. This is never truer than with nonprofits, which often passionately provide a service.

A – Attainable. This step is for all of you optimists. You keep missing goals because they are not just a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), but they are simply unattainable. When you constantly miss your goals, the culture of your team suffers and you get depressed. There will always be people around you who can bring realism to your goals. You want stretch goals, but you don’t want them to be impossible.

R – Relative. Your goals need to motivate YOU. They are relative to YOU and your team. Here is the trick. If you have a team, and the goals are only relative to you, there is a mountain to climb. You cannot expect your team to embrace your goals unless you have embraced your team. If you do not have a team at work, you may have a team at home. If you are working insane hours for a goal your home team does not support, there is trouble ahead!

T – Timebound. A goal without a timeline is a goal that you will get around to someday. A goal with a timeline is a goal with a track for completion. Any important goal needs a deadline. Team leaders must bring accountability to deadlines, or the goals become meaningless. Deadlines bring the goals to fruition. And when you complete SMART goals, you look smart as well.

Now for the application. Unless you have some form of time management system to track your goals, you will never hit them and just keep moving the deadlines further away. And, you need more than a time management system, you need daily habits to move the needle on the goals. Major goals need consistent time blocks to bring the goal to completion. Without the time blocks, you will face last-minute deadlines producing poor performance and unhappy clients.

Want to find some peace of mind by moving the needle on your goals in business and life? Create SMART goals with systems and habits for success!