My Number One Tip For Setting Better Goals
Updated: Sep 16, 2019
A big part of adulting is coming up with goals and smashing them. It really boils down to that whole S.M.A.R.T. goals thing you’ve heard about: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. I like to start off each month with 2–3 goals that I know I can succeed at by the end of the month. This fall, I’m focused on actions that make the most impact with the least effort, so here’s how I’m thinking S.M.A.R.T.:
Specific: Get granular about what the goal is. It’s the difference between “become a millionaire” and “bring in $250,000 every quarter by selling 500+ courses.”
Measurable: At the end of the day, how am I defining what “success” looks like with this goal?
Attainable: Is this goal doable in the span of 30 days? If not, break it down into smaller steps.
Relevant: Is this goal in support of your bigger goals?
Timely: Even within the one-month structure, I like to set deadlines along the way.
For September, I’m focused on launching season two of my podcast. There are a million little things that need to happen before our season premiere on September 16, but I’m going to zero in on just one for the month’s big goals: Build the new website landing page by September 16th so that we can launch season two with a bang.
This hit all of my criteria: It’s specific to the page I want launched, it’s measurable in that I would have that page built, it’s attainable, relevant to my goals, and timely—it has to be launched by September 16 in order to come out with the new season. There’s more that I want to do with the new site, but I’m starting small. (So stay tuned for that.)
A personal goal in September is to pay off my credit card debt of $600 so that I can move on to the next card and pay off my debt. I’ve been using the “snowball” debt payment method for the past few months, and am tackling the smaller debts I carry as often as possible. So, it’s S.M.A.R.T.: I’m paying off that one credit card, by the end of September, breaking it into 2 payments of $300 (one per paycheck,) in order to attain my money goals.
As a note: I’m not going to lie and tell you I’m great at money stuff. I’m not! Only in the past couple of years have I started focusing on my financials in an intentional way. I used to avoid even looking at my bank account, and now I look at it every day to keep any eye on what my money is doing. And it has paid off (pun intended!) I’ve not only gained a greater appreciation for budgeting, but I’ve identified at least 3 suspect or duplicate charges in my account, charges that, had I not noticed them, would no doubt have cost me hundreds of dollars by the end of the year.
Another personal goal that I’ve already started up but will keep going in September is to go to Orange Theory at least three times per week so that I can tone my arms and feel sexy in a tank top. My BFF got me hooked on the cult-like gym, and despite the fact that I really, really, really hate mountain climbers, I’ve been enjoying the high-intensity workouts. Notice that I didn’t just say “work out three times per week.” I was extremely specific about what and why. This gives me the focus to make it every time, and even if I don’t have a great cardio workout, I can always crush the weight-lifting section to meet my goal of definition in my arms.
Did you notice a pattern with these goals? Take a look:
I want to do this thing, by this time/of this amount, so that I can attain this goal.
In the tech world this looks a little bit like a “user story,” something we write in order to focus in on the what, how, and why of a product we’re building. It’s a useful tool for getting clear on what you’re doing when you’re building a multi-million dollar product, and it makes sense that it would apply to many areas of life. It's essentially a S.M.A.R.T. goal structure, just set up in a way that's easier to remember.
When I started writing my goals out with this structure something really cool started happening: I started getting shit done. Like, really done. Not only was I able to focus in on goals that made the most impact, but my "why," or my big motivating factor, was built right in to the goal. It was the perfect way to remind myself of the what AND the why, all in one neat package.
So those are the big three for September. There are plenty of little goals throughout the month, and a ton going on in both my business (season two is launching!) and my personal life (I’m headed to New Orleans for a girls’ weekend!) but these three goals will be my north star: if nothing else gets done, these three have to get done.
I’d love to talk more about this idea. Comment below if this approach to goal-making resonates with you!