There is an acronym that every coach has heard. Whether in sports, life, or business, coaches use and teach goals and the acronym is catchy. It just sounds good to say S.M.A.R.T. Goals. You want to be smart don’t you. Setting goals that are smart bring about change better: more quickly, and longer lasting changes in life, business, and community. I’ve always found S.M.A.R.T. to be a bit lacking and years ago I came up with W.E. S.C.R.A.M. goals but that never sounded so cool. It just didn’t have the effect on the listener that a S.M.A.R.T goal did. Making this transition back into coaching full time again, I’ve come up with the solution to fit in my needs while still having the audio appeal. I call them W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
“OK, Brian, What are W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Goals?”
Well, I’ll tell you:
W – Written
A – Assessed and Accountable
Y – Yours
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable or Attainable
R – Relevant and Realistic
T – Time Bound
Lets dig into each of these a bit further as we make a plan to change our life, relationships, business, our being.
W – Written- You need to write your goals down. When I write my goals down they become a bit more real. Not only do I write them down but I put them on Sticky notes and put them on my computer monitor and bathroom mirror. One day my daughter came up and said dad, “Why do you have ‘100’ on your computer and in your bathroom?” At first I didn’t understand what she was talking about then the “100” clicked. That was my goal. I had set a goal to get 100 subscribers to my newsletter. So not only did writing them down where I see them help me by being in my face, my family knew what was going on and helped remind me what my goals were. Write down your complete W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Goal.
A – Assessed and Accountable- Putting my goal in front of my family, even by accident, leads into the accountability. My family helps keep me accountable to the goals I set. They help keep me on track. Secondly, I have my MasterMind group that I meet with weekly who are aware of my goals and check in with me periodically.
The Mastermind principle consists of an alliance of two or more minds working in perfect harmony for the attainment of a common definite objective. Success does not come without the cooperation of others.
I know that every week I will be checking in with my MasterMind group and they will be evaluating my goals and my word and the associated action. They also help me in designing and structuring my W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Goal to better lead me to victory and success.
Along with the accountability is the assessment and evaluation. As I’m pursuing a goal, it needs to be examined daily or more often to see if it remains W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Part of the assessment and evaluation ids determining if the goal is a process (in support of another) goal or an outcome (the final result) goal. I’ll discuss those in a future post. When the end of a W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Goal arrives AND whether successful or not, it needs to be assessed. Here are four good questions when assessing a goal:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- What challenged the goal?
- What needs to change for future goals? or other current goals?
It took me a long time to realize that failed goals are still OK. I was at the Smart Conference put on by Dave Ramsey and associates with my wife. Dave pulled out his journal–a good place to be writing goals– and started reviewing his goals from the mid to late 1980s. He had set goals to offer so many classes in so many towns and have so many radio stations in so many cities. The numbers don’t matter to us, but yes he had set them as S.M.A.R.T. goals. He pretty much missed every single goal he had set. I mean all of them. But he increased greatly in every area he had goals in. The goals set the plan and direction to the outcome to his principles to his vision. Did his failed goals work? Yes! Absolutely yes! They set the momentum that has put his course in every state in this nation and beyond. They spread the wildfire of Dave’s vision. Those failed goals put his radio show on over 450 radio stations today.
Why? Because after every failed goal, Dave took a time out. He assessed and evaluated what went well and what went poorly. He re-examined his purpose and his vision. He set new goals and always and continually took action.
Y – Yours– This is so simple but often overlooked. If the goal is not yours, if you don’t want it with a passion, if it doesn’t align with your principles, IT WON’T HAPPEN. Either that, or the task was just too easy and happened by default. So many times, people get into the position of pleasing others. Worse, what we think others want or what might please them. If you aren’t in touch with who you are and what your passions and purposes are, this simple item may be difficult and may send you in another direction to find yourself. Once you have come back and start making the changes you need to become the person you want to be. The person God created for your special purpose.
Bottom line, set goals that are yours! Back to my goal of 100 subscribers. It aligns with my purpose to help others with personal finance and productivity. Why? To enable others to have a better life. Darn straight, that goal aligns and is mine.
S – Specific- If I am not specific with my goals, I really don’t know where I am going or how far. As a coach of over 15 years, some of the initial goal discussions involve many of these words: more, less, faster, slower, you get the point. Actually, I think these words are good words to have when first designing a goal. Yes, goals require designing. Those words also can fit in with specific part but not in a fully designed goal. Back to my example, I want more people on my newsletter about personal finance and productivity. But specific goes hand in hand with the next one, measurable.
M – Measurable- A W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Goal must be measurable to assist with the assessment and accountability. If we take my goal where we left it in the last step “I want more people on my newsletter about personal finance and productivity.” It’s time to take that “more” word out and be even more specific by being measurable. That is where the “100” came in. “I want to build my email list to 100 subscribers.” Now when the goal ends, I can look back and say with a definitive “yes” or “no” if the goal was completed. I could even go a step further and easily say if the goal was only 50% achieved or 250% achieved. Making goals measurable will help with motivation and momentum management.
A – Achievable/Attainable- Two perspectives need to be considered here: my perspective and the human race’s perspective. A third perspective came to mind as I typed the last sentence, God’s perspective.
And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
–Matthew 19:26 NASB
So never leave this out as you work through the “A” on your W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Goal.
Back to the original two perspectives. Is this goal something similar to something I have done before or have I done the exact same thing? If the answer is “no” to both of those questions. I have to go to the human race perspective. Has anyone ever done this? Has anyone done something similar or related? With these questions evaluated, we can make our specifics and measurables appropriate for where we are in life.
In the example of my mailing list, I’ve had much bigger mailing lists when I was a professional athletic coach but I wasn’t the list builder. So for all intents and purposes (I always thought that phrase was intensive purposes–oh well–off task), I’ve never built an email list before. So looking at the human race through the lens of my podcast subscriptions, entrepreneurship and business reading, I found that people build 100 person email lists all the time and with quality content they grow and grow and grow.
There is an emotional/momentum toll when a goal is missed. The opposite is also true, there is a momentum push when a goal is achieved. Being so wise by reading this blog, we should be able to minimize the toll of missed goals. We should think of goals like the pirates code:
The code is more of what you call guidelines than actual rules.
–Pirates of the Carribean
But, if we never miss our goals we have to question if we could be doing more. Could we achieve more? Should our vision and purpose be bigger?
R – Relevant/Realistic- Does the goal you are setting move you to or strengthen your purpose or does it distract from it? If it doesn’t, the goal isn’t really relevant and you’d be better off going back to your purpose and finding some thing that is relevant. If you accidentally complete an irrelevant goal, you’ve wasted time and energy and haven’t built your momentum for change. You’ve actually stalled it and lost momentum from the time spent off focus.
T – Time Bound- When is the goal to be achieved? This can be just as dangerous as using the words “more” or “less”. If I stopped by saying “I want to build my email list to 100 subscribers.” I wouldn’t know when to do the final assessment. I could get stuck on the goal for all eternity–which would lead to boredom and less and less action and focus towards achieving the goal. Setting the end point of the goal tells me when to look back over the process and do the assessment and evaluation. It tells me it is time to move on: check my purpose, set new goals, and achieve my dreams. The final goal for this phase of my business development was “Build my email list to 100 subscribers in three weeks.” Also note that by dropping the phrase of desire “I want to” I have changed the statement to a statement of action.
Now that new year resolution time has passed. Take a minute and email me your W.A.Y. S.M.A.R.T. Goal or if you are bold, just post it below. Look at goals as tools to mold and change behavior. They are the rungs of the ladder to the new YOU. Goals are the directors of change. They are success in themselves.
Let me know how I can be inconceivably useful to you.