Set Smart Goals to Succeed

With focus, you create a powerful laser-like ability to accomplish things. However, it is extremely important that you focus on your goal, rather than just focus on working hard. Many people, some leaders included, believe working hard is all there is to it. Unfortunately, a person can work hard with efforts focuses in the wrong direction and come up short. Hard work does not guarantee success. It is a component, but you must focus your hard work and efforts toward the result you want to achieve. With focused effort, you can achieve much more with greater ease. However, before you can focus, you must know one thing: what your goal is.

You Must Know Where You Are Going

When people discuss leaders as having vision, they are simply saying the leader knows what outcome she desires. Vision is nothing more than a clear picture of what you see for yourself, your organization, or the world in the future. A powerful, compelling vision can be exciting and energetic. But most important, a clear vision provides direction and meaning. Without vision, without goals to work toward, a leader and the organization he leads cannot concentrate energy toward the desired results. Without goals, how can priorities be set? When a leader has a clear a vision and goals, the chances of achieving them are much greater. Because goals are so important, and focus without them lacks the ability to achieve the greatest successes, the remainder of this article will be a short primer on setting and achieving goals.

Setting and Achieving Goals

There are countless resources on goal setting. Many of these are very good, and people who follow them end up achieving greater results and live more successfully. Unfortunately, not that many people actually design their own lives. Studies show that the majority of people do not formally set and achieve goals. Many people spend more timing planning a vacation each year than they do on what important things they will accomplish or achieve.

Goals should be set in all areas of your life. You must have balance. Areas to consider setting goals in include: Mental Goals, such as learning more about a topic and improving yourself; Physical Goals, such as engaging in an exercise program and eating healthy; Family Goals, such as spending time with your wife or husband, kids, and extended family; Social Goals, such as going to community events, joining a local service group, or socializing with people in your industry to share ideas; Spiritual Goals, such as attending a religious service, reading from the great religion’s texts, or just being more helpful to people; Career Goals, such as doing what is needed for a promotion or leading your company to success; and Financial Goals, such as owning your own home, getting out of debt, increasing your net worth to gain financial independence.

After you have determined what areas you will set goals in, you must commit to writing them down. Studies show that committing goals to paper increases the probability of achieving them. In a “Forbes” interview, Lee Iacocca said, “writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” There are many ways to write your goals down. Different books and courses have a variety of forms to use to record goals, sub-goals and the mission statement that governs them. For purposes here, just commit to writing goals down. They do not have to be recorded in an expensive journal or on complicated flow charts. In fact, often keeping it simple is best. Just be sure they are challenging but reachable, quantifiable, and have specific timeliness and committed to paper. If you do this, you will be way ahead of most people, and if you do this for your business, it will have greater chances of succeeding to great levels. Now that you have committed to committing your goals to paper, let us look at how we can make them SMART.

Many books, articles, and courses teach SMART goals. It is a good acronym to use as you begin your goal setting. SMART goals are simply:


Vague generalities do little to inspire us. Our minds need specific targets to work toward. You must state exactly what you wish to accomplish. Provide enough detail to eliminate indecision when determining exactly what you should be doing. To set specific goals, you should answer the six “W” questions: who, what, where, when, which, and why.


How will you know if your goal has been attained or not? A measurable goal has an outcome that can be assessed. It should have measurable progress, and you should establish concrete criteria for measuring such progress. Measuring helps you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement when the goal is accomplished.


When you identify and set specific goals that are important to you, you begin to figure out ways to attain them. You go the extra mile to develop attitudes, abilities and skills to reach each goal you set. You can attain just about any goal you set, if you really want it, and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve it.


Goals should represent things you are willing and able to work toward. It can be set high, and still be realistic. Only you can determine what is too high. Your belief and commitment that the goal can be accomplished represent if it is realistic or not. This can not be emphasized enough, it is your call whether a goal is realistic or not. What is realistic to one person may not be to someone else. Your goals must be within the realm of your believability.


A goal must have a time frame. We are driven by deadlines, and establishing them for our goals is powerfully motivation. It must not be set too far into the future, or it is too easily put off. At the same time, it should not be set too close, making it unrealistic and discouraging. If you do not set a time, goals tend not to happen. It is too easy to think that you can start anytime, and you never do. Without a time frame, there is no urgency to start taking action toward your goals, toward your dreams, toward your success.

Setting goals is powerful. Use the SMART acronym to help set goals you will achieve. Once set, remember that you must focus on your goal and remain focused until you are successful. Getting sidetracked and drifting off in different directions will stand in the way of true success.

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