People love goals. We love to set them, achieve them, review them, and celebrate them. However, despite our love for goals, only about 30% of us stick to our goals according to a recent survey by WalletHub. This same study revealed that almost 59% of Americans expect greater challenges in keeping goals in 2022 than in 2021.
The good news is that you can future-proof your 2022 goals by making sure they are ‘smart.’ Maybe you’ve heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals before and feel that the concept is elementary, but would you believe that a mere 3% of adults use this goal-setting structure despite the fact that these individuals achieve 10 times more? Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is an easy way to future-proof your organizational new year’s resolutions. So, let’s break down how you can implement this simple tool today.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are
· Relevant, and
Making your goals SPECIFIC
The more specific you can make your goals, the better. Strategic vision and overall direction are very important, but they are only realized when they can be broken down into easily recognizable steps. Thus, a goal of increasing membership is not nearly as effective as setting a goal to increase membership by 40%, with a goal of 10% increase per quarter. Specific goals help you plan more effectively and benchmark your progress more meaningfully.
Making your goals MEASURABLE
As aforementioned, benchmarking progress for meaningful analysis is important for continuation of your goals. Without clear definitions of success and useful metrics in place by which success can be measured, your journey to the achievement of your goal will be aimless at best. Key phrases involved in setting a measurable goal include “how many” and “how much,” and require the identification of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are specific to your organization.
Making your goals ATTAINABLE
Making your goals attainable bring your aspirations down to earth, where reality and success can coincide. Goals that are too lofty or too demanding are likely to flop, causing a loss of morale and of stakeholder confidence. Of course, it is important that goals maintain a healthy level of challenge to the team to fuel growth and development. Assessing the attainability of your goals can also shed light on the obstacles that may require special attention.
Making your goals RELEVANT
Relevancy is arguably the most difficult aspect of planning S.M.A.R.T. goals, as relevancy changes all the time. Thus, ensuring your goals are relevant is an ongoing process. For instance, many of the goals most associations and companies began with in 2020 became quite irrelevant by March of that year, when in-person gatherings disappeared, and priority areas changed. Be sure to continually evaluate the relevance of your goals in light of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. If you cannot answer the question of why your organization should pursue the goal at hand, the goal probably isn’t relevant.
Making your goals Time-Bound
At the beginning of the year, making time-bound goals is quite routine. You’ve likely structured your goal with a FY or quarterly end in mind, as you should. Goals without definitive target dates often dissipate into a sea of to-do lists. Still, be mindful of the time sensitivity of the steps between January 1 and your end date. The end of the project is not the only end you need to keep in mind. If your project involves several phases or steps, set realistic target dates for each phase or step, otherwise you risk a pile up at the end of the project period.
If your organization could use some support in planning S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2022, contact our team today. We look forward to it!