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How To Set SMART Goals And Reach Them [With Ease]

How To Set SMART Goals And Reach Them
How To Set SMART Goals And Reach Them

What is the goal that you're trying to achieve?

For many people, that question is hard to answer because they never sit down to think about it.

For a long time, I had no real goal.

I just wanted to make a lot of money and live a life where I did anything I want.

Not a very 'SMART' goal, is it?

When you don't have a goal that is instilled in your mind that you're actively working towards, it feels like you're working just to work.

It's a bit like school - you just do what they say without really knowing where all of this is going to take you.

You pick subjects to study just to get it out the way.

In life - the mechanics of the game are a lot different.

When you don't have a goal you're actively working towards you don't know what will get you to where you want to be.

Without goals, you don't have a plan because you can't have a plan for nothing.

I like to say that "If you don't have a plan, you're planning to fail."

Without having a clear goal, you can't clearly communicate what you want out of the world.

In one book, 'The Millionaire Fastlane' - that I mentioned in this article, The author says how if you don't clearly communicate what you want, the universe will be confused, not knowing what to give you.

If one moment you want to make a lot of money, then the next moment you're thinking how money is the root of all evil, then this is not a clear sign as to what you want in life.

Having a goal gives you something to work towards.

Your life goal also shapes your WHY.

WHY do you want to reach this goal so bad? What will it enable you to do?

We'll cover the WHY in another article (touched on here), but today, we're going to talk about how you can set goals and reach them with ease.

These are what we call - 'SMART' goals.

Specific

How To Set SMART Goals And Reach Them

The first step of setting a SMART goal is to be specific with your goal.

You have to first identify what it is that you're trying to reach with laser-sharp focus and a clear outcome.

I'm currently building a new software called Hawk and looking to release it soon.

Here is what my specific goal can look like:

"I want to launch 'Hawk,' my new sales software, and get my first 10 users."

This is a good start.

You don't want to be too vague with your goal.

Be as specific as possible so that you're able to clearly communicate to yourself exactly what you're looking to do, giving yourself a better shot of achieving it.

When you walk into the supermarket, you're not going in there for just groceries.

You're probably going in there for some semi-skimmed milk, chopped chicken breast, 4 packs of 500ml bottled water, etc.

If you go in just for 'groceries,' you'll most likely come out forgetting a lot of the things that you wanted to buy in the first place, resulting in another visit to the supermarket.

Finally, you might even want to mention the specific tools or resources you're using to carry out this goal.

In my instance it could look something like this:

"I want to build (using Javascript) and launch 'Hawk,' my new sales software, and get my first 10 users via Facebook advertising." 

Do you see the clear difference between the first attempt and the second attempt?

Measurable

How To Set SMART Goals And Reach Them

This is a self-explanatory part of setting your goal.

However, without this component, you won't be able to tell if you're making progress towards your goal or not.

Your goal must be something you can clearly measure and tell how close you are or how far you are from achieving it.

In my instance, we have set exactly how many users I'm looking to get once I launch.

This will make it easy for me to identify if I reach the goal or not once it's launched and started advertising on Facebook.

On top of this, I've also mentioned the tool (Facebook advertising) that I'll use to get these users.

With this, I can measure the exact metrics such as traffic, clicks, cost per click, or cost per acquisition.

This will allow me to know if my goal can be reached using this ad platform, or if I have to find a more effective way of getting those 10 users.

When setting your goal have some sort of metric which makes it easy to measure.

This goes back to being specific.

With the other example, I mentioned '4 packs of 500ml bottled water.'

This gives me a number to measure my success based on.

Once I reach 4 packs of bottled water, that's when I can say that I've achieved my goal.

Later on, we're going to add a time aspect to our goal making it even easier to measure and track how far we've made it, and how much left we have to achieve our goal.

For now, make sure your goal is measurable.

You can tell if it is just by trying to measure it right now.

Can you tangibly say how much progress you make, or is it speculative?

If you find yourself speculating the progress made, it is not a measurable goal.

Attainable

How To Set SMART Goals And Reach Them

Is your goal attainable?

In other words, can you really achieve this goal with all the parameters you've set?

Your goal should be challenging enough to give you a run for your money, but realistic enough that you're able to achieve it.

For example, I wouldn't say that "I want to build the next NASA rocket with a £100,000 budget and superglue."

This is challenging and impossible.

When you're thinking about this part, you want to write down any challenges and setbacks that you may face along the way.

Writing them down can be a great reminder and leaves you ready, not vulnerable when you have to face them.

Let's use my example again.

"I want to build (using Javascript) and launch 'Hawk,' my new sales software, and get my first 10 users via Facebook advertising."

The first setback that I can face is not knowing how to code on Javascript (which I don't). 

Another challenge may even be that the domain 'Hawk' is not available, which is likely the case.

My second setback or challenge would be having a large enough budget to get those 10 users through Facebook ads.

Another challenge is that Facebook can always ban my ad account for small issues.

A final issue I can think of right now is that people may not resonate with the product or messaging.

You may want to sit down for 5-10 minutes and think of as many as you can.

The more you can think of, the more ready you will be for any challenge that may arise.

Try to think outside the box and think of challenges or setbacks which may not be so blatantly obvious.

After you've created a list of challenges, you will want to start to think of the step-by-step plan you'll take to get over those hurdles and reach your goal.

For example, if the Hawk domain is not available, there are two things I can do.

I can either search for similar things along the lines of Hawk, or I can completely change the domain name.

Another example, related to 'users not resonating with the product messaging.'

I can just create an A/B test campaign and have multiple ad sets each with a different message to see which works best.

The clearer you are with this, the more attainable the goal becomes.

Relevant

How To Set SMART Goals And Reach Them

As simple as this sounds, you will want to set a goal that truly aligns with your end goals and desires.

What do you want out of life?

That is the big question.

From there, you're able to set small 'SMART' goals that will help you reach that ultimate goal.

Is the goal that you're setting really something you want to do, or is it a goal that was decided for you from external sources?

When a goal is relevant to you, you're more likely to go out and work towards reaching it.

When I had my e-commerce store, I wanted to make it work because I thought that I just wanted to get rich.

Intrinsically, it didn't align with me or my values because it was not a high-quality product.

With the businesses I started after this, such as the marketing agency or even Condensr, I wanted to provide real value to the end-user or client.

After all, we get paid for innovating value.

Even now with the Hawk software, the goal is to provide the most amount of value to agencies and salespeople as possible.

Having been both a salesperson and a marketing agency owner, I know the pains that these two groups face and know how to solve it for them. 

This is a relevant thing to me and it would also contribute to my ultimate goals and WHYs.

Time-Bound

How To Set SMART Goals And Reach Them

There was a scientific experiment done that showed the difference between setting strict deadlines and achieving a goal vs setting wider deadlines and achieving the goal.

It was found that, although done scrappier, the harsh deadlines were more likely to be achieved.

This part is the glue to the whole goal that you're setting and the most important part.

Without a deadline as to when you should have achieved your goal, you won't be as motivated to achieve it.

Setting a deadline puts you under time pressure to perform or you'll fail.

Without setting a deadline, you cannot expect to have the same level of focus and drive to achieve that goal.

The time aspect will help you measure your goal.

You'll be able to cross-check the progress you've made with how long left you have to achieve that goal.

From there, you get a better look over how far or how close you are to really achieve the goal so you can push a little harder.

It will also help you know if the goal is really attainable or not.

If we're going back to the example: "I  want to build the next NASA rocket with a £100,000 budget and superglue," then this may be possible if I give myself 30 years plus.

However, if we use the example with the Hawk software, I may set myself 10 days to launch the product, then 2 weeks to get the initial 10 users.

Now my goal may look like this:

"I want to build (using Javascript) and launch 'Hawk,' my new sales software, by 30th August 2021 and get my first 10 users via Facebook advertising within 2 weeks after that."

Is this attainable?

After setting out the challenges I may face, and thinking about all that is left to do in order to launch it, then I would say yes - 10 days is realistic to launch the product.

How about the 10 users, is this attainable?

10 users in 14 days (2 weeks) is less than 1 user a day.

To get a user on the platform it may cost £5+ per acquisition, more if the product costs more.

I have a budget higher than £50+ to get 10 users so yes, this is also an achievable goal.

You don't want to set a very strict deadline, but you also don't want to give yourself too much comfort.

Comfort kills.

This is how you can set a SMART goal and make sure that you achieve it.

You need to set a specific goal, which can be measured and attained. To make sure that you can attain this goal, it must be relevant to you and what you truly want in life, as well as have a strict enough deadline to push you without being too strict and discouraging you.

What goals have you set using the 'SMART' structure?

Share them in the comments below.

Till next time,

Mohamad 

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