Are goals the S.M.A.R.T choice for success?
The familiar song of ‘new year, new me’ was on the hymn sheet again this year and the drunken lyrics were echoed at New Year’s parties around the world.
The human desire to look towards the clean slate of a new year with aspirational hope is an annual tradition. Social media is alive with bold declarations of eyebrow-raising claims. Friends pledge to change their negative habits overnight. Colleagues discuss their goals with determined steel in their voice and optimism to their tone.
Sadly, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
How can this number be so high after such a short space of time? It makes it seem as though the people making the resolutions are made up of foolish dreamers with no staying power. But, beneath the romanticised sentiment of the ‘new year, new me’ movement are genuine people longing for positive change in their lives.
Losing weight is always a highly placed goal on every yearly leader board but generic goals like these are an outdated concept in need of complete overhaul. Why do you want to lose weight? How much would you like to lose? When by?
Too much emphasis is put on the outcome and not enough on the process. Developing a sustainable structure where the choices you make around food, diet and exercise should be the goal.
Plans must be crafted following deep introspection and personalised planning. If you hope to alter your bad habits after a month of festive indulgence just because a new year is about to start, don’t be surprised to find yourself as one of those in the 80%.
Business goals are no different.
Instead of allowing your success to be gauged on whether an arbitrary financial box is ticked, burrow down into the daily improvements your business could make.
What does ‘increase customer satisfaction’ mean? How can it be measured? What are the company-wide objectives you will instil to make it happen? Get everyone in a room to discuss them. Make sure the plan is understood. Don’t wait until December to do so.
A newer concept worthy of a closer look is the idea of one word becoming your theme for the year. After careful consideration about what your word needs to be, make it the backbone that connects and supports your goals.
Maybe your fledgling business could be achieving more but you keep taking on too many tasks at once and getting buried.
Focus could be your yearly concept condensed into a word that drives your decisions and objectives. A weekly timetable of jobs could be step one to stop you spreading yourself too thin. A computerised system such as an online calendar or spreadsheets could be setup and synced with colleagues to aid organisation. Ensuring one job is finished before starting the next could be the personal bad habit you plan to break.
There is no specific goal as such, but the benefits to your business are measurable, trackable, and personalised.
If you find yourself unable to move away from the idea of traditional goals, the worst thing they can be is vague. Run them through the S.M.A.R.T acronym and ask yourself, are they…
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
Get into a deep conversation using these questions to figure out the reasoning behind your goals, even if that conversation is with yourself. Get a pen and paper out and write everything down or fire up the laptop. Call a meeting if it’s a business and commit to understanding the driving force behind your objectives as a team.
The better you understand why you are doing something, the easier it will be to stick to.
Put equal emphasis on both the process you put in place and the goal you hope to achieve. Track your successes. Learn from your failures. Use your plans and considerations as a roadmap to next year’s party.
When the same old song is starting up again, you can sing along as one of the surviving 20% 🎶 ....Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind...
should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne? 🎶
by Daryl Bennett