S – Specific, Significant, and Stretching
M – Measurable, Motivational, and Meaningful
A – Adventurous, Attainable, and Action-oriented
R – Realistic, Relevant, and Responsible
T – Time-Bound, Tangible, and Thoughtful (Friday, Aug 11)
E – Energizing, Exciting, and Excellent (Friday, Aug 11)
R – Roles, Recorded, and Reviewed (Friday, Aug 18)
When goal setting, make sure that these six attributes are part of your plan:
- Adventurous: Goals should be a path that you want to take! They should be like exploring a cave or climbing a mountain: challenging and enjoyable. Passion is the fuel for every life goal. Remember, an adventure is not only about the end-result, but also about the journey itself. Do not be so focused on the destination that you miss all the growing and learning experiences on the way.
- Attainable: Goals need to be inspiring, but not set so far beyond your life experience that they seem too lofty or impossible. The question to ask yourself is if you currently have the foundation to reach the next level with increased effort, skills, or time? You need to ascertain how large the gap is between your future and your present. Goals should be seen as a bridge. For example, perhaps you would like to become a millionaire in one year. If you are 30 years old with a current salary of $35,000, this is not likely not achievable in such a short time frame. However, with some creative thinking, this can be done. Instead, you determine to set an annual goal of saving 10% of your salary in an index fund each year. If done for the next 35 years and the market return is also 10%, you’ll have over $1,000,000 in your fund account.
- Action-oriented: Thomas Edison once said “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” For goals to succeed, labor (both mental and physical) is necessary. This means that winning the lottery is NOT a goal. Why? Besides the statistical unlikelihood of winning, it requires less time to purchase a ticket that to set the goal. There are no magic wands in life. Any goal that is ‘something for nothing’ is not really worth pursuing. Be prepared to invest time, money, and sweat into any goal.
- Realistic: This is related to making your goals attainable. Although your Mom probably told you that “you can become anything you want” this isn’t ALWAYS the case. If you are 40-year old woman, a goal to be a starter in the NBA is not very practical. Likewise, a 40-year old man who sets a goal to win the Miss America pageant is going to be disappointed, no matter how hard focuses. Goals should be exciting, but also reasonable. Design your life like a ladder and determine to reach the top by climbing one rung (and sometimes two) at a time.
- Relevant: Goals should align with your life mission (e.g. why you are here on Earth) and your values (e.g. who you really are). Goals should easily fit into your life and lifestyle. They may be challenging, but they are not to feel like you are trying to shove square pegs into round holes. Instead, goals should be parts of your life ‘puzzle’, where each goal is natural part of the whole. When each new ‘piece’ is added, the overall picture of your life becomes clearer. Also, it should be common that your goals connect to one another, like ‘puzzle pieces’ as there should be a number of themes that are constant throughout your life.
- Responsible: The highest goals are those that are achieved with integrity and via win-win mechanisms. When possible, choose goals that improve yourself and others. Remember this ancient guiding principle: do no harm. If in doubt, use this litmus test: what would be your reaction to hear that your goals were suddenly published on the front page of every newspaper in the world? Would you be extremely proud or very embarrassed?
Next week, I’ll continue to outline the SMARTER model, and explain T (Time-Bound, Tangible, and Thoughtful) and E (Energizing, Exciting, and Excellent).