September. The month where the leaves change, the summer nights start to get shorter and the feeling of a fresh start is around the corner. While many of us are not going back to study this September, the sentiment of “back to school” always manages to linger. Suddenly September starts to resemble January, where new goals, new habits, and new schedules come into place as vacations wrap up and work comes back into full swing.
If you’re looking to re-ignite your routine or your day-to-day business operations, take this final quarter as an opportunity to establish new goals and finish the year off strong. Maybe your goal is learning how to delegate, managing your cash flow more effectively, or just finding ways to be more productive, regardless of your objectives, goal setting and implementing the necessary steps is key to ensuring your success.
Turning your daydream into a reality
We’ve all been there. At the turn of a season, it’s so easy to expand your list of to-dos and daydream of everything you hope to achieve for the remainder of the year. And while it’s great to have a list of ideas and what you’d like to see for your business, having a clear goal and a plan to achieve it will be detrimental to your success.
Without a plan, it’s easy to get distracted by other work and not prioritize the proper steps to achieve your goal. And while your plan may vary for each goal, creating SMART goals can ensure your success.
Work smarter, not harder
Whether you’re a new business owner, or you have been successfully operating for years, utilizing SMART goals is a great way to create realistic expectations of what is required to achieve your goals. Not only that, it provides clear instructions and a timeline to help you stay motivated during the journey.
So what do SMART goals stand for? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Let’s get into it more with the example of wanting to be more productive.
Be specific in what you want to achieve
To kickstart your SMART goal, the first step is to identify your desired result. What’s most important in this stage, is to be specific. For example, instead of “I want to be more productive” imply an action such as “I want to implement a new time log system at work to help me better track my time and complete my daily tasks in 8 hours, reducing how often I work overtime.”
How will you measure progress?
Once you’ve specified what you want to achieve, the next thing to consider is how you’ll measure your progress. This will help you stay motivated but will also help you determine when you’ve officially completed your goal. How you track your progress can vary on your circumstances, and your goal, but deciding on a specific metric will make it easier to track your progress in a way that makes sense to you.
Shoot for the stars, while remaining realistic
Now that you’ve determined what you want to achieve and how you’ll measure your progress, does it seem achievable? If it’s not achievable, what can you address to make it happen? Off the bat, your goal shouldn’t seem impossible. While you want a challenge, you want to remain realistic and set yourself up for success.
Relevance is key
Another component of a SMART goal is ensuring it’s relevant to you and your existing goals surrounding your career trajectory or your business’ success. Look at using these individual goals as stepping stones to achieve a larger milestone. This makes it easier to push forward and also helps establish the bigger picture.
Timing is everything
Last but not least, the final component of your goal is time. Set a realistic timeline by which you’ll achieve your goal. By providing a realistic deadline for yourself, you can also set benchmarks and endpoints.
Additional tip! Writing down your goal is a great way to provide additional motivation and make a deeper commitment to your goal. By recording it on paper, you’re already taking the first leap to make it happen.
Now that you’ve learned how to set a new goal – what will you achieve next?