In our 10-part series around setting and achieving goals, we’re exploring how to gain clarity around defining your goals and how to develop a “master plan” to achieve them.
Before you even begin to work towards your goals, you must set metrics to measure the success of those goals. Then, once you’ve determined what success looks like, you can get specific by creating a concise description of what you’re going to do, why you’re going to do it, and how you’re going to do it by creating your goal statement.
When setting any goal — whether personal, professional, or in business — there are three simple stages:
- Defining the goal.
- Developing a plan.
- Executing the plan.
In case you missed the last article in our series, In Going After Goals: Know How You’ll Measure Success, we suggest you read that first, then come back to learn about crafting the perfect goal statement.
First, What Is a Goal Statement?
People “set” goals every day, but they are not always specific enough to be measurable. You might say:
“I’m going to try to eat healthier.”
“I plan to read more books on effective leadership this year.”
“I’m going to swim laps in the pool more often.”
But while many of us make similar declarations (especially around the new year), vague statements like these actually rarely lead us to complete a goal.
On the other hand, when you create a goal statement, you’re setting a clear and specific intent to accomplish that goal.
In essence, a goal statement is your commitment to achieving that goal. The benefit of goal statements is that they not only demonstrate how you’ll achieve the goal but also echo your why for doing so — the key component in accomplishing the mission your goal will serve.
Goals help us allocate the precious limited resources of time and energy. They inform us where to spend these resources. The idea is that if you have the right goals, you’ll obtain the highest return possible on your investment of these resources.
Goals ensure that we spend our time and energy on what we value most so that we are aligned with our values and mission.
Your mission is your global goal; goals are a subset of that mission.
What Do You Need to Create Your Goal Statement?
To set your goal statement, you need to be clear on the elements of your goal. One of the best methods to gain clarity around those elements is to set your goal in a SMART goal format.
Here are the steps you need to take to make your goal statement a SMART one:
- First, be specific. Design your goal so that anybody who sees or reads it can understand exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Clarity is power.
- Next, make it measurable. Your goal statement should state specifically how much of each measurement you want to achieve and how frequently you are going to measure it. You can read more about the measurements part of the goal process here.
- Be sure your goal is attainable. Goals should be challenging, but not too simple. If your goals are too hard, you risk not meeting them and getting discouraged. On the other hand, if your goals are too easy, you won’t get to experience the joys of personal growth along the way.
- Your goals should be relevant to your overall mission. Being aligned with your mission is one of the best ways to stay motivated while pursuing your goal. Achieving a goal that’s relevant to your mission helps you feel more fulfilled in life.
- Finally, your goals should be time-bound. A goal might no longer be effective for your overall mission if you take too long to accomplish it. Create (and honor) a deadline to ensure your goal is as effective as possible.
Once you’ve run your goals through the SMART goal format, you’re ready to create your goal statement.
How Will a Goal Statement Come to Fruition?
Here’s how a goal statement can begin to materialize:
- Health: “I will go on a run at least three times a week, for at least three miles each time, to improve my physical fitness.”
- Career: “I will take one continuing education course each quarter this year to improve my skills for my profession.”
- Life: “I will hire a life coach with at least 10 years of experience and schedule 52 weekly sessions to aid in my personal growth.”
- Business: “I will bring in a professional speaker to host a leadership workshop next month to nurture the potential of my team.”
Now that you’ve made your goal more specific through your goal statement, it’s time to mark key dates on your calendar and set reminders so you can form the right habits to achieve it.
The Bottom Line
Setting a goal statement isn’t complex, but it’s a necessary part of achieving your goal. The good news: By reading this article, you’re one step closer to doing just that!
Reading books on goal setting is a tangible method you can use to set yourself up for success. You can learn this process directly from Arootah’s CEO and founder Rich Bello by downloading his free playbook, The 10 Step Arootah Success Formula. It offers a simple, straightforward process to support you in systematically achieving your goals.