What about the process?

When I became a person that sat down and set goals every 4 months I spent quite a bit of time reading lots of books trying to find the best process for doing this. A term that would come up a lot was ‘S.M.A.R.T Goals’. This states that goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So being the good student I am I went ahead and produced my goals based around this standard.   

A few months later I managed to meet one of the most successful people I had ever met. This man impressed me in so many ways. He seemed to be of a high level in all areas of his life. When I got to sit down and have a chat with him I couldn’t wait to tell him about my goal process, as I was pretty sure that he would have a similar way of setting goals. I was also thinking that he may be able to give me some tips on how to improve my process.  

When I asked him about how he went about setting his goals, his answer shocked me. He said ‘I have some ideas in my head that I’m working towards’. I almost didn’t believe him ‘But you write them down?’ I asked, ‘No I don’t, that stuff doesn’t really work for me’ he said. How could this be? This man who had success in so many areas of his life didn’t do his goals in the S.M.A.R.T way? What had I missed?  

What I’ve learnt since that conversation is that there is no one way to set goals that works for everyone. Sure, S.M.A.R.T goals are great for some people, but they don’t work for everyone. Your job is to continually figure out what the best way is to motivate yourself through goal setting. This process will evolve as time goes on. I know that the way I go about setting goals today is completely different to my process ten years ago. I’ve learnt over time how to make them more effective for me.  

Think about times when you have been successful. Look at how you set the targets for yourself at those times and then duplicate that. Over time you will improve your process, a process that you have designed just for yourself that you know works for you.

Bevan Eyles