Goal Setting – 2 of 6 – Six Steps to Achieving Any Goal

You now have an idea of a goal. You have already written it down. You have also discovered where you are now in the process (i.e., your Point A). The next step is to actually see if the goal is possible and then to ensure that you are clear on what you want to achieve.

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This is where you must follow a six step analysis on your goal.

Some of you may have heard of the SMART formula. Some of you may not have heard of this formula. Either way it is okay. This is true mainly because the SMART formula is missing a crucial step. And we will cover that in a moment.

For those of you who may not be aware of this we will cover these first 5 components in some detail and then get to the missing 6th component.

The SMART (and even SMART-Y) formula uses the letters of the word as an acronym of what each letter represents.

The S is for Specific.

For any goal to be accomplished you have to be specific as to what you want. You see the brain does not see things in words nor does it comprehend abstract concepts. It sees things in absolute details. And the brain cannot see things when the words “not” are used.

As an example don’t think of a yellow Hummer. Did you think of a blue one? Did you think of a Hummer at all? If you actually thought of a yellow Hummer then you are like just everyone else on the planet. The mind sees in pictures and does not understand the negative of a word.

This also happens when people think of anything in their lives. If you are single and want to date someone that doesn’t smoke and you tell yourself you want a non-smoker? What did you just picture in your mind? Did you at all think of someone with a cigarette?

Another concept on the Specific side of things is that you have to be specific. If someone was in one of my training classes and they said their goal was to make “more money” then I would hand them a penny and say “Congratulations, you made more money. Goal accomplished! How do you feel about getting that goal?”

If they were to stammer around and then say, “No, I meant to say was …” then what follows after that may be a specific amount.

So for a goal to be Specific it must have an exact amount.

This same concept holds true in the arena of weight loss. If your goal is to lose weight then you must have an exact number in mind. (To be honest the weight doesn’t matter at all as does body fat and a number of other factors, yet we will use “weight” as the target.) Thus, if you are a 240 pound man you may have a target of 190 pounds.

M is for Measurable

The second component here is the goal has to be “measurable”. As with the former one there has to be a way of measuring as you are moving along the path of goal achievement.

If you have a weight goal then you can step on the scale at any point along the way to see if you are on track. The same is true for finances. The same can be even true for someone seeking a spouse. This can be done as to how often you go out to who are you attracting in your life.

Thus, you have to have a way to measure yourself along the path.

A is for Attainable

A goal has to be attainable. Now, I am not the first to tell you not to set “lofty” goals. I will say sure go ahead and set those big goals, yet that goal must be attainable (in relation to all five other components). If your goal is to play in the Superbowl next season and you have never played football in your life then that goal may not be attainable.

Thus, make lofty goals, yet also make ones that are able to be accomplished.

R is for Risky

The R word has also been used to stand for relevant. I feel that relevant is covered in the M and the A above and does not need to be re-addressed here. In my training the people use risky for the R word. And I tend to agree that this is a better representation.

If a goal has no risk involved then that is not really a goal. A goal has to be able to push you to do something more or different than you have done in the past.

As an example, let’s say you make $2,000 a week at your job. And on Monday morning your goal is to make $1,000 in the upcoming week, is that really a goal? It does meet the criteria of the first 3 but does it involve any risk? Let’s assume you are in sales and you actually change that goal to making $3,000 the following week, would that be more of a risky goal?

Another thing I must say here is that one person’s risk is not the same as another person’s risk. If someone were to say my goal this weekend is to clean out my garage some people may laugh and say there is no risk involved there. But, if that same person were to say that they want to clean out the garage because that is where all of his departed wife’s personal belongings are stored, would that be a much bigger risk?

Thus, R is for Risk and that risk is set by the individual.

T is for Timely

A goal must have a deadline to be a goal, otherwise it is just a dream or a wish.

So when setting a goal make sure you have a time that it must be accomplished. Many people are procrastinators and wait until the last minute. However, once you have a goal make sure there is that time frame that you set in order to accomplish it.

Make the time frame attainable yet also risky.

As you can see all of these combine can be very very powerful. Yet, there is still one missing component. We are not talking about having to have it in a written format, which you most absolutely must be done.

I will tell you a story here that happened to me in early 2010. I just returned from taking a seven day course up on a ranch in northern California with a personal development class. After returning I was inspired with a weight loss goal. This was May 2010. In about two months I was going to be attending my 25 year high school reunion and I was going to take an ex-girlfriend of mine from the late 1990’s to the event.

An instructor I knew talked about one particular program called P90X which is an at home physical fitness program that lasts 90 days. At that time I weighed 240 pounds and was a double XL shirt and a 44 inch waist.

I set a goal to be down to 170 pounds at the end of the 90 days. About 60 days in was the reunion which I would be taking a week off so that put the target date in late August or first week of September. And I definitely wanted to look good for both the reunion and meeting up with my ex.

Let me ask you this does this goal meet the SMART formula, so far?

Let’s see…

S – Specific? I said I wanted to weight 170 pounds (or release 70 pounds)… YES

M – Measurable? I actually weighed myself daily every morning after waking… YES

A – Attainable? Now you may question this one as to is it really attainable. That is going to be losing 70 pounds in 90 days. This is about 2/3rds of a pound consistently per day. It was lofty but could be seen as attainable.

R – Risky? Absolutely. I would have to exercise once or sometimes twice per day AND change all eating habits…. YES

T – Timely? It was a 90 day program. I did take a week off in mid-week of week 7 so I repeated that week at the start of the next cycle… YES

This then causes us to talk about the 6th component of the SMART-Y formula. Can you guess what the “Y” component stands for? You may guess a few different words, however…

Y is for Why

Your “why” is the most important element of them all. Without a reason why to do something then you want have any desire to finish a goal, or even start it, much less keep yourself on track during the process.

That why will get you up in the morning to trudge forward even when you don’t feel like it or have others attempting to hold you back. Your why is your motivator. And if your goal is truly something you want then this “why” will cause you to keep going after it.

Take a look at people who join the SEALS in the US Navy. They go through an arduous training that most people cannot handle. They have a fail rate of 80% and most of these are ones who quit during their Hell Week. In my opinion many of these are because their “why” wasn’t strong enough.

Let’s put this another way, would you walk across a 2 foot wide board on the ground that is 10 feet long and 2 foot thick? What if that board was 30 stories high? What if that board was 30 stories high and you are on the side of the building that is on fire and the only way off was to cross the board to safety? What is the difference in each of the events?

In the first one you were rather safe by being on the ground. You would most likely confidently walk across it. Yet, at 30 stories up your confidence would completely change? The only thing that may motivate you is your “why” to escape the burning building.

This should shed some light on any goal you set now and in the future. Make sure they fit the SMART-Y formula and make sure each component is true for you. If you don’t quit you will achieve it eventually.

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Author Details
Kevin A Dunlap has been self-employed since 1999. He is an author, and professional speaker. He specializes with creating innovating techniques to motivate and inspire people to achieve more in what they want in their careers and jobs.

Kevin Dunlap

Kevin A Dunlap is a business and life coach specializing in helping people discover their desires and to help them build a game plan in taking the next steps in their life. He is the author of the books Designing Your Own Destiny and The Winner's Code: Secrets of the Winner's Mindset.

Kevin is also the producer of the podcast Life's Little Lessons where he interviews entrepreneurs from all over the world.

He is a professional speaker and trainer. He has been known to talk at multiple entrepreneurial functions.

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