The Golden Rules of Goal Setting

Krista Polka, CAS, Sales

When it comes to setting goals, whether for work, personal, or other, psychology plays a significant role in the success of reaching goals. Goals play a part in how we see ourselves and they also help to shape who we are and who we intend to be. Both professionally and independently, psychologists and mental health professionals associate goal setting with a higher sense of self-worth. Think of the last time you set a goal and reached it. How did you feel afterward? Happy, proud, excited, and fortunate may be some adjectives that come to mind. When setting goals of any caliber, be sure to set specific, clear, defined, and attainable standards for yourself or your team otherwise known as SMART goals. This method was designed as a guide for how to set realistic goals and have a successful outcome. SMART is the acronym for setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals.

  • S: Specific

    • What do you want accomplished?
    • Why is this goal important?
    • Who is involved?
    • Where is the location?
    • Which resources or limits are involved?
  • M: Measurable

    • How much?
    • How many?
    • How will I know when it is accomplished?
  • A: Attainable/Achievable

    • How can I accomplish this goal?
    • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
  • R: Relevant

    • Does this seem worthwhile?
    • Is now the right time?
    • Does this match our efforts/needs?
  • T: Time-Bound

    • When?
    • What can I do six months from now?
    • What can I do today?

Goals come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. From New Year’s resolutions, financial, educational, long-term, short-term, self-improvement, and the list goes on. The end result of a goal looks different for each individual, but the golden rules of reaching the goal remain the same: stay motivated, stay on track, and stay positive. Is it realistic to think every goal is going to be reached as intended or even at all? Probably not. But on the flip side, understand that with failure comes opportunity. Other considerations to make when setting goals include aspects such as being consistent in taking steps to reach your goals. Make sure you show up for yourself and for your team! Write your goals down, hold yourself accountable, make an action plan! The first step really is… starting!


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