In a previous blog we looked at the importance of writing down goals. In this blog we look at probably the most common way to create your goals and some supporting techniques to help you achieve them faster.
Creating SMART Goals
SMART goals are just that: smart. Whether you are setting goals for your personal life, your business, or with your employees, goals that have been developed with the SMART principle have a higher probability of being achieved.
The SMART Principle
Specific goals are clearer and easier to achieve than nonspecific goals. When writing down your goal, ask yourself the five “W” questions to narrow in on what exactly you are aiming for. Who? Where? What? When? Why?
For example, instead of a nonspecific goal like, “get in shape for the summer,” a specific goal would be, “go to the gym three times a week and eat twice as many vegetables.”
If you can’t measure your goal, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Measurable goals help you clearly see where you are, and where you want to be. You can see change happen as it happens.
Measurable goals can also be broken down and managed in smaller pieces. They make it easier to create an action plan or identify the steps required to achieve your goal. You can track your progress, revise your plan, and celebrate each small achievement. For example, instead of aiming to increase revenue in 2009, you can set out to increase revenue by 30% in the next 12 months, and celebrate each 10% along the way.
Goals that are achievable have a higher chance of being realised. While it is important to think big, and dream big, too often people set goals that are simply beyond their capabilities and wind up disappointed. Goals can stretch you, but they should always be feasible to maintain your motivation and commitment.
For example, if you want to complete your first triathlon but you’ve never run a mile in your life, you would be setting a goal that was beyond your current capabilities. If you decided instead to train for a five mile race in six months, you would be setting an achievable goal.
Relevant – or realistic – goals are goals that have a logical place in your life or your overall business strategy. The goal’s action plan can be reasonably integrated into your life, with a realistic amount of effort.
For example, if your goal is to train to climb to base camp at Mount Everest within one year and you’re about to launch a start-up business, you may need to question the relevance of your goal in the context of your current commitments.
It is essential for every goal to be attached to a time-frame – otherwise it is merely a dream. Check in to make sure that your time-frame is realistic – not too short, or too long. This will keep you motivated and committed to your action plan, and allow you track your progress.
Autosuggestion + Visualisation
Autosuggestion and visualisation are two techniques that can assist you in achieving your goals. Some of the most well-known and successful people in the world use these techniques, and it is not coincidence that they are masters in their own fields of business and sport. A few of these people include:
- Michael Phelps (Olympic Swimmer)
- Andre Agassi (Tennis)
- Donald Trump (Real Estate)
- Bill Gates (Microsoft)
- Walt Disney (Entertainment)
Of course, each of these people have a high degree of talent, ambition, intelligence and drive. However, to reach the top of their respective field, they have each used Autosuggestion and Visualisation.
Autosuggestion is your internal dialogue; the constant stream of thoughts and comments that flows through your mind, and impacts what you think about yourself and how you perceive situations.
Since you were a small child, this self-talk has been influenced by your experiences and has programmed your mind to think and react in certain ways. The good news is that you can reprogram your mind and customize you self-talk any way you like. That is the power of Autosuggestion.
To begin practicing Autosuggestion, make sure you are relaxed and open to trying the technique; an ideal time is just before bed, or when you have some time to sit quietly. Then, repeat
positive affirmations to yourself about the ideal outcome. Top sports and businesspeople will often practice just before a big game or meeting.
Some examples of positive self talk or autosuggestion include:
- I will lead my team to a victory tonight!
- I will be relaxed opento meeting new people at the partytonight!
- I will deliver a clear and impacting speech!
- I will stop worrying and tackle this problem tomorrow!
- I will stand up for my own ideas in the meeting!
- I will remember everything I have studied for the testtomorrow!
Visualisation is a complementary practice to Autosuggestion. While you can repeat affirmations to yourself over and over, combining this practice with visualization is twice as powerful.
Visualisation is exactly what it sounds like: repeatedly visualising how something is going to happen in your mind’s eye. Nearly everyone in sports practices this technique.
It has been proven to enhance performance better than practice alone.
This technique can easily be applied to business. For example, prior to any presentation or meeting where you must speak, present or “perform.” You can also visualise yourself being incredibly productive and effective in your office. Or, having a discussion with your spouse calmly and rationally.
Elements to think about during visualisation:
- what does the room look like?
- what do the people in the room look like?
- what is their mood? how do they receive me?
- what image do I project?
- how do I look?
- how do I behave? what is my attitude?
- what is the outcome?
So set your goals, write them down and use techniques to ensure you achieve your goals faster than you believed.