I struggled with a cool title for this. Something eye catching. Alas, I came up with nothing specific and ran with just the simplicity of the word. There are so many directions to go with this subject. Mapping, setting, designing, planning, creating and whatever else you want to label it. It doesn’t matter what you call it, most entrepreneurs are familiar with the ideology but are down right laughable at implementation. Resolutions get recycled every New Year and the gyms are empty by mid February.
Most of us have good intentions with our goal setting. Someone once told me that the road to hell is paved in those. My grandfather was an Irish immigrant who came to Kentucky as a young boy. He possessed a fourth grade education formally and suffered from polio as a child. He was also one of the wisest guys I knew. I once told him that I had meant to do something but never got further than the intention. He told me to go down to the store and ask what I could purchase with that intention. Point taken. Education comes in all forms and common sense maybe the best of all.
Goals are simply intentions. If you surround your goals with no thought and no activity, they will be fruitless. Man is capable of innovation and ability but must get into action to meet his accomplishments. When we think of all the great innovators of the world, they all have some common ground. They planned. They failed. The planned some more. They tweaked their plans based on their failures and they kept moving toward their goals. Their intentions were mirrored by their action. Thanks guys...I love my technology.
While my grandfather was beyond intelligent, I wasn’t exposed to his wisdom much. My family life was a struggle to say the least and only now am I learning the lessons that he provided so many years ago. Goal setting wasn’t something shared among my family. A good goal was to make it through each day. I knew there was more for me to conquer but success wasn’t something that was embraced in my home. Things were typically left to chance and as expected we grew up at the mercy of our environment as opposed to our efforts.
Here is a mnemonic for building goals and the plan around them: SMART
S—Specific. Specific means well defined, something that would be clear to anyone else.
Ex. Not specific—Become debt free. Specific—cut up my credit cards and pay off $27,000 bills and pay off $33,000 student loans.
M—Measurable. This is where we quantify our objectives so that we can measure our achievements against them. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as, How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
Ex. Not measurable—Get fit. Measurable—lose 25 pounds, BMI of 20, cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL, able to run 5 miles regularly.
A—Attainable. This is the time to pull your head out of the clouds and put your feet back on the ground. The ground may be significantly elevated, but it’s solid ground nonetheless. You can’t have world peace tomorrow, solve hunger this month or become a millionaire in a year if that is 20 times your current net worth. Your goals need to stretch you, push you to go farther and faster than you ever thought possible. At the same time, you don’t want them to debilitate you because you know in your heart of hearts it is only a fantasy and not really possible even if you operated at your highest and best for the duration. Don’t rely on any extraordinary external luck having to happen in order for you to reach your goal. What could you do and control the outcome to if you played at world-class level?
R—Relevant. This is one of the most important criteria to scrub against. Are the goals you set above in alignment with the core values you outlined in installment No. 2? Do they align with your mission and support the vision you have for your life? You want to be sure the direction in which you focus your creative capacity is in the direction of what is truly most important to you, your life and the legacy you intend to leave. If not, reconsider.
T—Time Sensitive. You think, act and react with the urgency and appropriate energy defined by the task. Just as your muscles prepare in one way when you stoop over to pick up the morning paper, and react in an entirely different manner when you prepare to lift a 100-pound barbell, so your mind prepares your body and your attitudes for responding appropriately to the deadlines you set for yourself.
Deadlines create a challenge, and you respond to the challenge. In sports, the tension mounts as time runs out. The most exciting plays are often in the last few minutes, especially if it is a close game, because people respond in dramatic fashion to the challenge of deadlines.
I am striving to make my long term goals a simple part of my daily life. Plain. Simple.

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