Let me clear up one important thing before we get started – Living in the moment is not the same as living day to day.
Living in the moment means that you appreciate and enjoy the times you have, but when you live in the moment you should still be forward thinking and planning your future.
How often do you think about where you want to be in a week, or a month, or a year? How often do you physically plan how to get there? That’s where goal setting is so important.
To succeed it is inherently important to have goals to strive toward; goals allow you focus and direction. It allows you to have control over the direction of your life and gives you a gauge with which you can use to judge your own successes. It’s also important to note that if you find yourself straying or not giving your goals much attention, they may not be what you truly desire to achieve.
Having goals can give you checkpoints to keep yourself on track, a goal doesn’t have to be a huge end point – sometimes having one huge goal can be counterproductive as it can seem impossible to obtain, this is why setting yourself smaller goals to achieve along the way to your big goals is important.
How do we set goals and ensure they are measurable and attainable?
Let’s get SMART …
SMART goals are something you are likely already aware of, it’s also highly likely that you have never actually put them into practice. Smart goals can be big or small. In case you don’t know, this is what SMART stands for and how to use it:
Specific – Having a well-defined goal is one of the keys to success. If you don’t know what the goal is, you cannot attain it. It is important not to make your goals ‘generalized’. Saying something like “I want to reduce my outgoings” isn’t good enough. If you want to reduce your outgoings your smart goal would have to be “Renegotiate my utilities to a lower rate”. Your goal should be so specific it becomes your mission statement.
Measurable – Your goal should be able to be measured not only in things such as cost, but also in date. If you can measure your goal you will know you have been successful, for example if you want to save $50 on your utility bills, you can measure this comparing it to last month’s bill. You can also measure over a long period of time, if you intend to save 20% of your income, but are still paying off debt, you can start by noting how much you are saving (e.g. 5%) – in 2 year’s time, you will know you have paid your debt off if you continue at the current rate and will therefore be saving 20% of your income.
Attainable – The goal must be attainable, full stop. It might be a great idea to make your SMART goal land on Mars, but that might not be realistic. Start small if you need to, and build your confidence up over time.
Relevant – You need to have some idea of the direction your life is going to make sure your goals are relevant. Your goals must align with your vision or you will lose interest and you will also waste your time.
Time Bound – Humans will almost always work to a deadline, so give yourself a non-negotiable one. Set your deadline and make your deadline. Zero Xcuses accepted.
Only you can make yourself achieve your goals, so hold yourself accountable and set yourself up for success by planning, organising and following through with your plan.
Many thanks to Phil for the article!! If you are looking for even more from Phil, I encourage you to pick up a copy of his book here: