Too often, we spend less time on our goal setting than we spend on what we are going to eat at our next meal. We have a sudden impulse or someone says “you need to write down your goals”. Then – if you’re in the top handful of people in the country – you write these semi-random thoughts down, store them somewhere and you’re done. If only that were true.
Smart goal setting is totally different. I’m not going to talk about the SMART acronym (Specific, Attainable, Measurable, Relevant, Time-Bound). I’m going to use smart in it’s dictionary definition state of clever and intelligent.
Which means you’re going to actually have to spend a bit of time on the process.
Start by working out what it is you truly want to aim for. Not something that other people such as friends or parents think will be best for you. For goal setting to work at its best, it has to be an integral part of you. There’s no way you’re going to kayak across the Atlantic ocean if you’ve got a phobia about water. That would be a stupid goal but – on a smaller scale – we do that all the time with our goals.
So, instead, begin by writing out a few possible goals. Write these out bullet point style and don’t edit them as you go along. Continue writing as many of these possible goals as you can – set aside at least 15 minutes and ideally 30 minutes to do this.
It’s important that you don’t edit what you type or eliminate anything at this stage of the process. Creativity uses a different part of our brain and if you start to question it, the thoughts will clam up.
Then set your tentative goal list aside. Ideally at least overnight.
Come back to it tomorrow or the day after when it will seem fresh and new.
Go through each of your bullet points in turn and give them a score as to how important they are. If they’re a goal that you don’t really care whether or not it happens, score them low. If they’re a goal that you think “Wow! That would be fantastic if I got that” then score them high.
I find that a…