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Resolutions: Make Your Goals SMARTER (2)

February 4th, 2015 1 comment

unrealistic goals

In my last blog we discussed how to bring clarity to our dream by making our goals SMARTER.

For starters, make sure your goal is very specific. Specificity helps you to get your hands around it.

Next, make sure your goal is measurable. This involves attaching some numerical standards to your goal. Ten pounds of weight loss by April 1st. One chapter written a month. You get the point.

Let’s move on to cover two more important elements of effective goal setting.

Actionable

We often shroud our goals under the cover of vague “to be” statements. For instance, I want to be a better father. That sounds so noble, so admirable and so fuzzy! What does that look like?

I want to be more consistent with my blog writing. That’s nice. But what does “be more consistent” mean? This goal is neither measurable or action – oriented.

It’s much more effective to begin each written goal with an action verb. Before you break into a cold sweat with traumatic memories of middle school English class, let me give you some examples of action verbs.

I will write two blog posts each week.

I will read 2 books a month.

I will run 3 miles a day.

Now back to “being a good father.” How do we translate this into action?

I will read a book to my children each night before bed.

I will pray with my son every night before tucking him into bed.

I will communicate my love for my daughter by writing a special note each week and placing it in her lunch box.

Action verbs help us “see” what the completed goal looks like.

A second problem with our goals is that they are often…

Realistic

Our goals should push us beyond our current comfort zone, but not push us over the cliff. In other words, they must be doable. They need to be realistic.

I can dream of my performance in this year’s NBA All Star game but it’s simply delusional no matter how hard I try.

I get a little amused with the positive mental attitude, if-you-can-think-it-you-can-achieve it pep talk people. This “if you can dream it you can achieve it” preaching borders on blasphemy! We are not God. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think, but we don’t have the kind of power.

A better approach is to develop goals that push us out of our comfort zone without killing us!

Don’t go back to the health club for the first time in a year and do a three hour work out! You’ll be so sore the next day you won’t be able to move, let alone go back to the gym. A better goal would be to open the health club door, feel the surge of accomplishment and go home! You’ll be much more likely to return again if you take a realistic approach to your fitness.

Have you translated your desires into actionable goals?

Are your goals realistic? Are you challenged but not overwhelmed?

Resolutions: Make Your Goals SMARTER

February 2nd, 2015 3 comments

first down1
In the world of goal setting we often hear of the need for SMART goals. SMART goals move us from the realm of foggy dreams into clarity by capturing our goals in a simple, manageable way. Blogger, Michael Hyatt, challenged his readers to take smart goals and make them even SMARTER! I’ll use his acronym for the next few blogs to highlight the characteristics of good goal setting.

SMARTER goals begin by being:

Specific

One of my goals for 2015 is to write my first book. For years my friends have been encouraging to write. So I have decided to make this a priority. But “write a book” is not a goal. It’s more akin to a hope or dream. It’s big and foggy. If I think about it long enough, it can actually be very terrifying, overwhelming and paralyzing. Where do I start? How do I eat this big elephant called “book?”

This is where specificity comes to my assistance. A specific goal would be: Set aside each Friday evening from 9:00-11:00pm to write. Complete one chapter per month.

Now I can do that. I still have to actually work the plan but I now have the specific goal of a chapter a month and a specific time dedicated each week to write.

SMARTER goals are also…

Measurable

Yesterday over 100 million viewers tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. Believe it or not, we can all learn a lot about setting great goals from the game of football.

One of the rules of the gridiron is that you get four downs to make ten yards of progress. Your goal isn’t “to score a touchdown.” That’s the overarching goal. Touchdowns don’t generally happen in one play. They are made from what are called “first downs.” We measure our progress in ten yard chunks of progress.

How do you know when you get a first down? They bring out a chain to measure your progress.

Our church family wants to be a part of reaching our community with the good news of Jesus Christ. But how will we know when we have achieved that goal?

We won’t. It’s not measurable.

We decided a measurable goal would be to see 400 people give their lives to Christ over the course of the next 12 months. We can even break that goal down into monthly faith goals, much like the ten yard increments in the game of football.

If it’s not measurable you’ll never know if you hit the target.

Are your goals specific?

Are your goals measurable?