Stop Wishing And Start Acting
‘Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.’ Bill Gates
Most of us have dreams. Perhaps a friend of yours wants to start their own business someday, or finally get in shape. Sometimes we can be the wanters. We want to get a new job, to read more, to drink less. But if we’re honest with ourselves, has our enthusiasm waned?
Often, conversations about dreams quickly become discouraging because we get bogged down in the logistics required to achieve something. When will I have time to meet someone new? How can I run a marathon when I can’t even run three miles? Who will read my writing when I’ve never been published before?
Doubts like these will keep you from even beginning to get where you want to go. In Stephen Covey’s classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he lays out goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Here’s a breakdown of how to use the SMART system to turn your dreams into reality:
1. Identify what motivates you and translate these motivations into clear goals.
S is for Specific. This reminds you that a goal has to be defined in order to be achievable. Specific goals state exactly what needs to be accomplished. When goals are specific, they let team members know what’s expected. Specific goals answer the ‘W’ questions: Who, What, Where, Why and How.
2. Make goals that are measurable.
Setting criteria to measure progress helps you and your team to achieve what you want. It lets you reach your goals and experience success. Accomplishment brings an exhilarating feeling that keeps your team excited for the next goal. To set measurable goals, answer the following: How Much? How Many? What does the end look like? How will I know when I have accomplished this goal?
3. Make sure this goal is achievable.
Give yourself a reality check. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stretch yourself – but not so much that you feel undue stress. Many people develop new attributes and abilities as they stretch to achieve their goals. Success in achieving a goal builds self-esteem.
4. Ask yourself if the goal is relevant.
Will it REALLY make a difference or will it detract from your other goals?
5. Make sure your goal has a timeline.
A goal without a due date is just wishful thinking. Setting a deadline encourages you to work a little everyday; it reminds you that we get what we want by working little by little everyday.
When you take control of the goals you’re making, and set realistic expectations around them, you can move from ‘I want’ conversations to ‘I did.’
Happy goal setting!
Words by Hannah Jenkins
Photography by Estera Kluczenko