Ever spend a day at work and by the end of it, feel like you didn’t accomplish anything? You probably left work feeling tired. Demotivated. Or maybe even frustrated. Feeling unproductive can be draining – emotionally, mentally and even physically. And with the demands of our work and personal lives increasing and a pace that only seems to get faster and more frenzied – it’s essential you find some time to quiet the noise and get clear on what you want to achieve.
To do that, you need goals. Now, this extends beyond setting goals just to get through your “To Do” list (but don’t worry, that will be an unexpected and brilliant benefit!). Getting clear about what you want to achieve is about articulating your ambitions and aspirations. These can be short-term or long-term goals, quick wins or complex objectives. Maybe you want to take back control of your time. Learn how to build a budget. Conquer your fear of presenting. Get a promotion. Finish meetings on-time. Build your network. Improve your work relationship with your boss. Whatever your motivation when setting goals; start by reflecting on what you want to accomplish and why. That gives you a good launching point, but the vision alone isn’t enough. You need a little more definition around your goal to increase your chance of achieving it. To do that, your goals need to be SMART.
The SMART framework was first introduced in the 80s, made popular by management gurus through the 90s and adapted by many in the 00’s. Today, this framework still has staying power. Why? Because it works. You see, our brains are wired for routine. In fact, they crave routine because it helps us conserve energy. When we introduce something new, there may be a ‘short-circuit’ at the beginning as we try on our new habits. But it is possible to dupe your brain and begin to transform actions towards your goals into habits. The SMART framework helps establish goals your brain can translate into actions by focusing on what matters most to you. And with focus, we get consistency. Which means that even on days you may not feel like working towards your goal; your brain will kick-in to give you a boost and energize you towards achieving the results you envisioned.
Take some time to reflect on your goals. Are they SMART? If you still need some help setting SMART goals, check out these examples.