S.M.A.R.T. Goals… It’s that Time of the Year!

The beginning of the calendar year, as well as Rosh Hashana for the Jewish nation, are both infamous times for setting new goals, often known as resolutions. Aren’t we lucky that twice a year we have the opportunity to take an in-depth look at our lives, journey and businesses, and hopefully take the step of improving and correcting areas from the past year, or make decisions to do something differently this year.

As much as we may have the desire to correct an action, strategy or previous decision, the optimal way we can do so is by tracking it along the way, so we know where things stand compared to our original goal, plan or desire, what needs to be improved, and by how much. Did we do what we planned and set out to do, or not?

Being able to measure an action or physical property, setting a budget and seeing how we rate compared to the original plan, or simply having some standard with which to compare it to. That’s how we rate ourselves. And that’s how we can move ourselves forward.

In business terms, we use the term KPIs, otherwise known as Key Performance Indicators, which enable us to measure our progress, in pre-determined areas of our business. This could be income, profit, customer satisfaction, response to a marketing campaign, client retention, number of new leads, number of repeat leads, employee satisfaction, and much more. If you’re a business owner, what are the KPIs which you should be measuring which will take you and your business to the next level this coming year? Not only what needs measuring, but also how are you going to measure it, and what criteria are you using so you’ll know once you’ve achieved it? What are the benefits of you measuring it? What’s in it for you when you achieve your goal? How can you improve? How do you envision your business looking once you reach your goals, maintain them or even bypass them? How will you personally feel when you do so?

When we talk about goals in business terms, a common term is having your goals be S.M.A.R.T. ones, in order for you to enhance your possibility of reaching and maintaining them. I talk about S.M.A.R.T. goals often. Anyone who has attended a workshop of mine will have heard me mention this time after time.

So what better time than now to set yourself some S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Realistic and Time-framed goals. If any one of these elements are missing, you’re limiting and damaging your chances of achieving your goal in the first place, and may unfortunately cause the opposite effect, by thinking of yourself as a failure who didn’t reach his/her goal, rather than by simply adjusting one of the elements, the M for the quantitative amount which you’re measuring, or the T for Time-frame, for example.

Another issue I see, is that we often set ourselves too many goals, instead of focusing on three to four goals per time. This too can end up demotivating you, and throwing you off-track. Set out to achieve or complete three to four goals, and then re-set additional ones.

Push yourself beyond your comfort zone (the area where you feel safe and don’t allow or push yourself to the next level) in both your personal life and business. Beyond your comfort zone is where the real growth takes place, and how you’ll enhance your chance of achieving your goals. Ask yourself in which areas you’re reluctant to leave your comfort zone? Why? What can you do to change this? Who can assist you? What’s the worst thing which can happen if you do so? What’s the best thing? And what’s the likely scenario which will happen? And best of all… Guess what… You’ll feel like a million dollars once you’ve burst beyond that barrier which you believed was once holding you back, and will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

So go on, write your list of goals for the new year, brainstorm all possible ways/strategies of achieving each goal, tell another person (accountability) and go for it!

Lesley Kaplan is passionate about life and enhancing people & processes! As a Business Strategy, Branding & Goal-Achieving Coach, Consultant & Trainer, she enhances & empowers businesses, organizations & individuals in identifying, setting and achieving their goals, and in improving their results by “Building, Branding & Boosting”. She coaches and trains individuals and groups, both online and face-to-face, as well as organizes and facilitates monthly networking, business & development events & workshops. She is the Founder & CEO of “L.A.K. Creations & Consulting” and “Build Your Biz with Lesley Kaplan”.