A big determinant of whether you will attain your goals or not is how strong your goals are. In the business world, there is an acronym floating around defining what makes strong goals: SMART. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Hold your goals to these standards and you'll have a strong foundation on which to build your success.
Specific. Be detailed in what you are going after. The more clearly you can define your end result, the more likely you are to attain it. If your goal is to make six figures this year, how are you going to do it? What products or services are you going to sell to reach that number and what quantities? Obviously, as you journey toward your goal things are going to fluctuate. The idea is to set on a path toward your end goal and deal with barriers you encounter along the way.
Measurable. If you can't measure the end result, how will you know you've attained it? If your goal isn't measurable, it isn't a SMART goal. Some things are difficult to quantify. For example, I often have clients tell me they want to improve their brand awareness. This is a great thing to strive toward, but difficult to measure without investing in market surveys (which can be too pricey for small business owners). Alternatives to get a temperature check on brand awareness are the number of social media fans and social shares and website traffic counts.
Attainable. Why set a goal if it's impossible to reach? Sometimes, we just don't know if our goal is attainable. This is an indicator that more research needs to be done. If you are throwing darts at a board and truly clueless as to whether you can reach it or not, you won't be committed to attaining it because when the going gets tough, you'll blame it on setting an unrealistic goal. Likewise, challenge yourself to reach new heights in your business. Sometimes people set two goals: one that is a fairly sure thing and one that will require a lot of extra effort to achieve.
Relevant. Your goals should align with each other and all support each other toward your ultimate end destination. They also need to relate beyond business to your life purpose and values. If your goals conflict with your life purpose, you won't feel motivated to work toward them because they don't tie into the big picture. Your goals need to be meaningful and ultimately contribute to the big picture of where your fit in this world.
Time-bound. There's always tomorrow! But if we have no deadlines for our goals and keep putting things off, our tomorrows will run out. If you want to live to your life's fullest potential, you need deadlines to help you focus and stay on task. Deadlines can be big motivators when we're in a slump and can propel us to quit fussing with things until they're perfect (because they'll never be perfect).
Strong goals start as SMART goals! Once you've refined your goals to SMART goals, take this quiz to determine how likely you are to achieve your goals.