Here is another useful acronym that I’ve developed for focused and rapid goal setting: T.A.R.G.E.T.
Goal setting is the process that allows one to hit a bull’s eye. Without an identified objective, how can one aim much less hit a specific target?
For every goal, you identify these major six attributes:
T – Tangible
A – Achievable
R – Reviewable
G – Grand
E – Explicit
T – Time-Bound
Tangible: You can touch, see, hear, taste, or smell things that are tangible. They are concrete and this makes observations possible. The main benefit of having a tangible goal is that it is easily measured at any time, so progress can be tracked.
Achievable: Choose annual goals that are reasonable for your skill level and can be completed within 365 days. If you think you can, you can! However, if the goal just seems impossible, then the goal should be broken into smaller chunks over a few years or you’ll need to become an expert within this domain to achieve it.
Reviewable: If you have tangible goals, this normally is easily done, as long as you have a process to measure progress. Regular inspection is necessary to determine if course corrections are needed. I highly suggest that you build a monthly review schedule into the goal plan itself.
Grand: Goals should be big enough to challenge as well as inspire. Human lifespans are short: 120 years, maximum, and most do not make it past 80. If you are going to spend time, talent, and treasure pursuing something, make sure it is an excellent goal, an objective that you consider grand. Focusing one’s effort and energy on worthy goals is fun too.
Explicit: Goals need to be clear, exact, and specific. Clarity is key. For example, the goal “I want to earn more money this year” is extremely vague. Technically, if you were paid the exact same annual salary as last year and then I gave you an extra dollar on December 31st, you would have more money and accomplished your objective. Be explicit about what you want, how much, and how often. Detail both qualities and quantities and use the right adverbs and adjectives to describe your vision.
Time-Bound: Procrastination is common; therefore, goals need definite and predetermined deadlines. Ideally, these need should be set at the very beginning of the process. Also, one should be smart and assume that some delays will be encountered over the next 12 months. Do your best to add extra time or a cushion to insure completion by year end. You may grant yourself extensions if absolutely necessary, but try to do this very sparingly and only when conditions beyond your control forced a re-adjustment on the end date.