Question: The SMART way to Goal Planning

Goals. We all have them. Some may be public, some may be private. But you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have them.

It is hardwired within us to set goals. How you conduct your relationships, what you want to achieve at your place of work or even if you want to venture out on your own.

It’s all about your priorities; what you want to accomplish from life, work or your hobby, consciously or subconsciously.

Life, without any goals can be for most people, chaos. You are subject to coincidence, circumstance and are a pawn in other peoples’ goals or objectives. Everything we do is a result of a goal. Want a specific job, that’s a goal; you want to master a hobby that’s a goal too.

Here, we will help you to set goals and targets, both personal and professional that you can identify, track and realise, without the pain of an existential crisis.

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One of the best ways to set goals is through the SMART Goal Setting Technique. The technique is stronger than the vague resolutions you set for yourself, hungover on New Years’ day. It gives you the ability to create a clear path toward a goal; giving you accountability and a realistic view of its attainability.

Mainly used in corporate environments, SMART Goals is an efficient way for you to identify what you would like to achieve in life, in the fastest way possible (without inducing anxiety).

Let’s start with a goal. For the technique to work, it will need to align with the following measurements:
S -          Specific
M -         Measurable  
A -          Attainable
R -           Realistic
T -           Timely

(see why it’s called SMART?!)

Be Specific

Be honest with yourself, what would you like to achieve? If you have a strong visual idea of what you want, the more likely the technique is to work for you. Having goals like “I want to start a business” is too vague a goal and is open to wild interpretation. If you are specific you can break down elements of the goal and how and when you want to achieve them by. A better goal could be “I want to start my freelance graphic design business by the end of 2019 and have three clients”.

When setting your specific goal, honesty is key.
You need to spend time asking yourself these questions
- What do I want from my goal?
- Where Do I see myself once the goal is complete?
- How will I achieve this?
- How do I measure success?
- When can I realistically achieve this?
- Will I need to seek external help?
- What limitations do I foresee?
- Why Do I want to achieve this goal?
- What are the alternatives if I cannot complete my goal?

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Can You Measure It?

When you measure your goals, you give yourself the opportunity to identify what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. You achieve this, by breaking your overarching goal into bitesize elements. This makes the entire practice less daunting and makes you feel better about what you’ve set out to do. This needs to be tangible. Bitesize goals could be as small as creating a name for your business and registering your company with Companies House to completing an initial meeting with a potential client. Something you can tick off.
When you measure your goals, it allows you to see the progress you have made. When a goal is well defined, it makes your overall goal clearer and easier to complete.

Is It Attainable?

Can you really achieve your goal? This is the opportunity for self-reflection. Do you have all the time, effort and determination required to achieve the goal you have set out? Can you complete this goal against all the personal obligations you already have?
If your personal obligations are too great, that doesn’t mean your goal isn’t necessarily achievable, but you may have to refine or pivot your goal to make things work for you.
There is no point setting yourself up for failure. New Years’ Resolutions do a great job of that and nothing is more disheartening than having to abandon a goal.

Is it Realistic?

Does the goal you have set out, really align with you? Is the goal relevant to you, your needs and your current obligations? A career pivot is becoming more prevalent amongst millennials, but are you able to handle the challenge of switching from accounting to graphic design? This is why thinking about the specifics of a goal at the beginning is important. It is a personal decision, but only you know if your goal is realistic.
Can you train to accomplish your goal? How long would that take, will that impact your measurable success? If you are determined then this is all inconsequential, but you will need to build this into your measurement plan.

Will It Be Completed in a Timely Fashion?

Create a timeline and stick to it. When you create a plan for everything you hope to accomplish, you can assign an overall deadline to your goal. Everyone knows that deadlines make you work. This is your call to action, especially if you (like a lot of others) leave things to the last second.
So, set yourself realistic deadlines and celebrate when you hit or complete a step earlier than your projected timeline. Make sure you allow for flexibility; rigid timelines can cause anxiety and being overwhelmed could cause you to abandon a goal and not achieve anything.

Because I care about your productivity and goals here at The Study Room London, I make sure that the products not only look beautiful, but help make setting goals, being organised and being productive are at the forefront of each selection.

The Daily Review Planner does just that; designed to help you focus on what you want to achieve.
Rachida Benamar, founder of Rama Publishing is also a career coach, a Master of Law recipient from University College London and a public speaker designed the Planner to make your goals an achievable reality. The process has three steps:

Before you can start planning where you want to go, you first need to reflect on what motivates you. With key questions to help you identify your goals, the answers from your planner will give you an excellent idea of the sort of goals to pursue.
Using the SMART technique; the planner covers the essential elements of a solid goal. There is space in the notebook for three goals and the actions you are going to take to achieve them.
This allows you to work on your goals each day. The planner has a daily layout, with space for three daily priorities.
These priorities should relate to your SMART goals and must be completed each day. The planner also allows you to include separate sections for notes and a daily review; allowing you to record your thoughts on the day, what are you grateful for, what went well and what you are going to try and improve.

Each page is footnoted with an inspirational quote to give you the motivation you need to help you achieve your goals.
It’s the small wins that can result in you achieving your goal, small things add up, those three priorities can lead to over a thousand priorities completed in a year; that’s no small feat!

So why not start taking control of your goals today? Stop being the subject of coincidence and leave the chaos behind. Goals aren’t that scary if you take them one step at a time.

Rachida Benamar, founder of Rama Publishing is also a career coach, a Master of Law recipient from University College London and a public speaker. So, she knows the importance of developing your productivity and refining your planning skills!
You can find out more about Rachida Benamar over on The Coaching Diva.