I’ve shared quite a bit on how creating a personal growth plan over the past year has led to some pretty awesome breakthroughs for my life and business. If you haven’t set a growth plan, I highly recommend it. But perhaps the biggest missing key ingredient in actualizing your plan: setting SMART goals. There are slight variations on what SMART goals are, but I use SMART as an acronym for:
SMART & SMARTER.
SMART goals have been in use since the 1980’s. More recently, there have been two additions to make the acronym SMARTER, with the E representing “evaluate” and the R meaning “reevaluate”. Regardless, you’ll never get to those unless you do the first five.
In my personal growth plan, I set SMART goals for each of the components in Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life. This model breaks down life into seven components as seen in this diagram:
A Personal Example.
As an example, in the intellectual section I set this SMART goal:
Grow in my business intellect by reading 4 books a month (2 marketing, 1 leadership, 1 personal development) and listening to 3 podcast episodes per week. This is realistic if I listen to podcasts in the car during my commute and read 45 minutes per day (three 15-minute blocks) by cutting out a TV show or doing mindless internet surfing.
The goal is specific (business intellect), measurable (4 books, 3 podcast episodes), actionable (I start with a verb, “grow”), realistic (a daily routine), and time-bound (1 month). I used to hate getting specific, citing my free-spirited nature. But making my goals SMART has made reaching my goals doable. Here would be the same goal, but without being SMART:
Be better at understanding business at some point, but since I’m busy I’ll try to do that when I have time.
I don’t think it’s even a contest to see which goal is better. This goal is just weak. It projects an assumption of failure and a toleration of excuses. When making your SMART goals, push yourself a bit past your comfort zone.
The Most Important Hour of Your Year.
It took me about one hour to form SMART goals for all of the seven areas in the Wheel of Life. That one hour has been, hands down, the most important hour of my year. The investment of that one hour in forming my SMART goals has yielded a return that I’m still in awe of. Moreover, it’s changed the way I’ll view progress for the rest of my life. The same could happen for you. Not bad for an hour’s work.
Question: When will you set up your SMART goals?