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All goals need to be REALISTIC. This can be a hard aspect to pin down because it is easy to underestimate ourselves and therefore aim for less than our potential. I know that Victorian Bike Ride is a realistic goal because thousands of people like me do it every year. On other hand, if I were to set myself goal of riding in Tour de France, at age of 37 and with no prior training, that would be unrealistic!
Having set a 'big' goal that meets four criteria above, it is critical that we apply a TIME FRAME to our goal. Our day-to-day goals usually have pre-set time frames or deadlines. Ever known a family to eat Christmas dinner on Boxing Day because they missed deadline? Business goals are often set by boss or by clients. This is where 'big' goals often fall down. Because they are OUR goals, it is very easy to find reasons to put them off, or not to set time limits at all. A goal without a time frame is no goal at all because (a) we can't monitor progress and (b) something else will always be more important.
There is one more important aspect to setting 'big' goals: WRITE THEM DOWN.
Writing goals down has numerous benefits: -Writing somehow makes goal 'real'. It acquires a weight that cannot be achieved if goal is kept in your head.
Putting a goal into words on paper forces you to think it through. It gives you an opportunity to test goal for 'SMARTness'. Writing facilitates 'going public' - telling business associates, friends or family what you are trying to achieve. This in itself increases chances of achieving goal. Importantly, writing gives you starting point for planning achievement of your goal. Having written down 'big' goal, you can now write down intermediate goals you will need to achieve to get there. If each of these intermediate goals is also SMART, you have a solid basis for monitoring your progress. So there you have it. Sure, plenty more can be written - at least 113 books attest to that. But biggest challenge is not HOW to set goals. It is actually DOING IT - without overlooking basics.
And if you've had time to read this far, you have time to write down at least one 'big', SMART goal for 2002 right now. Get to it!
*********** © David Brewster, December 2001
After 10 years as a line manager in manufacturing, and four years as a consultant, my goal is now to fight the constant war against the complexity which too often hampers business progress.
In my consulting and coaching work, I perform business analysis, design and facilitate business process improvement and educate people at all levels about how they could do their jobs more simply.