Most people aim at nothing in life and hit it with amazing accuracy. That sounds like a startling wake-up call, doesn’t it? Who wants to achieve nothing in life? I’m sure none of you want. But the truth is many of us set goals incorrectly, and most of us - sadly - don’t set a goal at all.
Most of us familiar with Michael Jordan - one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. What many people may not know is that he did not even make his high school basketball team. He wrote in his book that when he was cut from the team, he knew that he never wanted to feel that badly again, so he set a goal of becoming a starter on the varsity team. He focused exclusively on that goal all summer long. When he eventually achieved that goal, he set a different one - a reasonable, manageable goal, that could be achieved if he worked hard enough at it. He said he knew exactly where he wanted to go and focused on getting there. He indicated that the small steps each building on one another are like pieces of a puzzle, which all come together to form a complete picture.
Now most of us are not going to set a goal to become an all-time great NBA player, and that’s okay. The point is if the best to ever play says he had to set small, incremental goals to achieve the success he has, then there’s something to be said for us doing the same in our own lives and with our pursuits. So let’s focus on goal-setting and how to take an action towards it.
There’s no point in setting a goal that we’re not passionate about. We just won’t be motivated to take the action we need necessary to overcome the obstacles we’ll encounter. Let’s start with the “why” aspect.
The “why” is your motivation - for example, a parent decides to get a better job (the “goal”) to provide a better life for her child (the “why”). Without a “why” you lack the motivation to achieve the goal.
Another way to determine if your goal is important to you is to ask yourself what’s at stake if you don’t accomplish it.
If you don’t feel some kind of excitement or enthusiasm for a goal, then you won’t give it the necessary energy to see it through. Always start with this part - asking yourself “why” you think a certain goal is important to me.
Everyone has certain things that they would like to accomplish, whether that’s within the next week or by the end of the year. The reality though, is that it won’t happen for most people. I don’t believe that people don’t want to put forth the effort; most just don’t have the proper roadmap.
All of us can be highly productive people and accomplish so much, just by putting our minds to it. But just thinking about it is not enough. This is where goal-setting comes in.
We’ve discussed the importance of knowing “why” a goal is important to you. Now let’s fill in the rest of the puzzle and talk about OKR’s and SMART goals, so that you’ll have the tools to not only set your goals but exceed them:
- “OKR’s” is a simple goal-setting system - “objectives” are the results/what you want to accomplish. “key results” are what you need to measure, to determine if you’re on track.
- Objectives are what is to be achieved - no more and no less. They’re concrete, action-oriented, and inspiring.
- Key results track how we get to the objective. Key results should be specific & time-bound, aggressive yet realistic. Most of all, they are measurable and verifiable.
Let’s describe smart goals:
- “Smart” is an acronym for the 5 elements of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals.
- Smart goals provide clarity, direction, motivation.
- Some benefits include: goals being able to visualize and by breaking goals down into manageable parts, it makes achieving them seem easier.
And finally, but most importantly - set up a deadline. Deadline gives that sense of urgency so it’ll be easier to build the right steps for achieving your goals and not procrastinate.