M – Measurable, Motivational, and Meaningful
A – Ambitious, Attainable, and Action-Oriented
R – Results-Based, Relevant, and Responsible (January 20, 2016)
T – Time-Bound, Tangible, and Thoughtful (January 20, 2016)
E – Ethical, Exciting, and Excellent (January 27, 2016)
R – Roles, Recorded, and Reviewed (January 27, 2016)
When goal setting, make sure that these six attributes are part of your plan:
- Measurable: This is one of the central keys for a successful goal. An old business maxim is ‘Inspect what you expect.’ This means you need to find a way to keep score so you can monitor your progress and determine when you have succeeded. A weight loss goal might measure a certain amount of daily calories or the number of pounds lost per month. The better measure you select, the easier it will be to evaluate feedback and make any needed course corrections.
- Motivational: Sometimes, people set certain goals to please other people (e.g. parents, teachers, bosses, spouses); however, even when these attempts are done for the best of reasons, rarely are they successful. Why? Goals need to be personal as you need to truly care about the content, journey, and outcome. A motivational goal should be powerful enough that you look forward to waking up each morning to meet this inspiration challenge.
- Meaningful: This is closely related to setting motivational goals as these major targets should have a deep significance to you. ‘What you do’ should directly correspond to ‘who you are’. The very best goals will link to your purpose and values. If a goal is not meaningful to you, why would you want to pursue it?
- Ambitious: Goals should be a path that you want to take! They should be like exploring a cave or climbing a mountain: challenging and enjoyable. Passion is the fuel for every life goal. Remember, an adventure is not only about the end-result, but also about the journey itself. Do not be so focused on the destination that you miss all the growing and learning experiences on the way.
- Attainable: Goals need to be inspiring and ambitious, but not set so far beyond your life experience that they seem too lofty or impossible. The question to ask yourself is if you currently have the foundation to reach the next level with increased effort, skills, or time? You need to ascertain how large the gap is between your future and your present. Goals should be seen as a bridge. For example, perhaps you would like to become a millionaire in one year. If you are 30 years old with a current salary of $35,000, this is not likely not achievable in such a short time frame. However, with some creative thinking, this can be done. Instead, you determine to set an annual goal of saving 10% of your salary in an index fund each year. If done for the next 35 years and the market return is also 10%, you’ll have over $1,000,000 in your fund account.
- Action-Oriented: Thomas Edison once said “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” For goals to succeed, labor (both mental and physical) is necessary. This means that winning the lottery is NOT a goal. Why? Besides the statistical unlikelihood of winning, it requires less time to purchase a ticket that to set the goal. There are no magic wands in life. Any goal that is ‘something for nothing’ is not really worth pursuing. Be prepared to invest time, money, and sweat into any goal.
Next week, I’ll continue to outline the SMARTER model, and explain R (Realistic, Relevant, and Responsible) and T (Time-Bound, Tangible, and Thoughtful).