Goals are tools that help you transform your life and create the things you want. But setting a goal doesn’t guarantee success! In fact, science suggests that 92% of people NEVER achieve their goals. It’s a demoralizing statistic, which raises an important question.
How can you increase the odds of success in your favor?
A powerful step is to make your goals SMART - this acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Whether you want to build your business, start a healthier lifestyle, or learn a new skill, starting out with a SMART goal is a simple way to maximize your success.
This SMART goal-setting process is baked into the Self Journal’s 13-week Roadmap - but if you’re looking for a different way to get started, we’ve got you! Check out this collection of goal-setting worksheets below. Simply pick your category, select your goal, and get SMART planning.
[N.B. Looking for more information about why SMART goals will help you win? If so, there’s more to read underneath the worksheet section.]
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Ever wondered why ambitious people fall short of their goals?
If you’ve ever set a goal and then fell short, you’ll no doubt recognize this pattern!
In the beginning, you feel enthusiastic and energized by the promise of your goal. You’re hopeful about the transformation ahead and excited about how your life will change as a result.
- If you’ve set a weight loss goal, you imagine how it will feel to be slimmer.
- If you’re building your business, you imagine more clients, more revenue, and more impact.
- If you’re writing a book, you imagine your name on a spine and your finished book on Amazon.
Then reality sets in!
You need to do a LOT to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. It’s tough! Do you have the grit and determination? Do you have the knowledge and skills?
And these doubts and discussions open up the mindset game...
Goals push you out of your comfort zone and force you to commit to actions that are new and uncomfortable. We’re creatures of habit, which makes it even harder to stay focused and in it for the long-haul.
Before long, willpower and enthusiasm alone are no longer enough. If you can’t see enough progress you feel disheartened. Life might throw a curveball to knock you off course. You may even find yourself distracted by other priorities. Then, before you know it, your goal has fallen by the wayside and your ‘normal’ life returns.
SMART goals can help ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
Step 1: Create clarity to ensure confusion stays out of your way
If you want to crush a goal, you have to know what success looks like.
This means you must be able to clearly define the finish line, or you’ll struggle to stay the course and take the right action steps consistently.
This is where a SMART goals worksheet gives you an edge. Let’s explore each aspect in turn:
1. Be SPECIFIC
When you get specific with your goal, you remove any ambiguity because you know exactly what success looks like.
“I want to grow my business” is a wishy-washy goal because it doesn’t specify how much you want to grow your business and how quickly you want to do it. Success is far more likely if you say, “I want to grow my business by 10% in revenue before the end of the year.” Get specific and the finish line becomes crystal clear.
2. Ensure your goal is MEASURABLE
If your goal can’t be measured then how will you know whether or not you’ve achieved it?
Let’s take a weight loss goal. Whether you lose 1lb or 15lb, you’ve still lost weight, but there’s a world of difference in the results.
So get clear on the metrics because that number will influence your strategy and approach.
3. Check your goal is ATTAINABLE
We always advocate setting goals that stretch you. Setting big goals is a powerful way to grow as an individual while you change your life in the process. However, don’t set goals or timescales that are impossible because you’ll only get demoralized. You won’t lose 40lb in 2 weeks and you won’t complete a marathon next month if you’ve never run a mile before. Strike the balance between challenging and attainable and you’re more likely to win.
4. Be sure your goal is RELEVANT
How much do you want your goal? How does it link into your vision for your life? Is your why big enough to take you through the inevitable roadblocks and challenges you’ll face along the way? If you don’t have a big enough why, you’ll struggle to cross that finish line. So before you dive in, check in with yourself to see what’s driving you and whether or not aligns with who you are, what you want, and where you want to go.
5. Make your goal TIME-BOUND
Never leave your goal open-ended. Instead, make it time-bound. Without a deadline, you’re more likely to procrastinate, squander time, and keep putting off the actions you need to take.
We advocate setting three-month goals. 13-weeks is long enough to achieve something significant, and short enough to keep you motivated. Deadlines also make it easier to monitor your progress. The quicker you notice you’re falling behind, the quicker you can take the action needed to get back on track.
With your SMART goal set, the next step is to map out your roadmap. Here’s how to do this.
Step 2: Map out the specific actions that close the gap to your goal
A SMART goal will get you focused because it ensures you’re crystal clear on what the finish line looks like. As a result, there’s less chance of you getting distracted or heading off on random tangents.
But a SMART goal alone isn’t enough to make success inevitable.
You also need a roadmap to help you navigate and close the gap from where you are now to where you want to be.
Success doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t strike you like a bolt of lightning. Instead, success is the result of taking the right daily actions, consistently.
The start of a goal can be overwhelming. The finish line feels far off and it’s not always clear what actions are necessary. But create a roadmap that breaks your big goal into smaller progress goals and the path ahead become infinitely clearer.
Let’s explore how this works with the following SMART business goal.
SMART GOAL - the big picture goal.
Grow my business by 10% in revenue before the end of the year.
PROGRESS GOALS - the mini-milestones that ensure you close the gap to your goal
- 1. Increase leads by x%
- 2. Increase average conversion rate by x%
- 3. Increase average revenue by customer by x%
ACTIONS + TASKS - the specific steps you need to take to achieve your progress goals. For example:
- Increase leads: Create a new lead magnet and autoresponder sequence within the next three weeks
- Increase conversion: Introduce A/B testing in your email campaigns
- Increase average revenue: Build out an upsell strategy