Why it's clever to set SMART goals

Why it's clever to set SMART goals

Posted By admin |29 Jan 2019
Why it's clever to set SMART goals
We’re sure most would agree that there is nothing better than the sense of accomplishment when we achieve our goals. Why is it then that we so often lose motivation, let distractions get in the way and ultimately discard our goals as being simply unattainable? In our first interactive breakfast briefing of 2019, Ilona Alcock helped our delegates to identify their goals and put in place processes to ensure they not only stick to, but smash them. Don’t worry if you missed it, in this blog we thought we’d share a few of Ilona’s practical tips:


Goals are part of every aspect of our personal and professional lives; from what we want to achieve in our careers, to how we spend our spare time. At the outset it is vital to consider what you want to achieve, not only in the short-term but also in the longer-term. Ilona explained the ‘SMART’ principle to our delegates, which helps to bring structure into your goal setting: Specific: Start by asking yourself what exactly it is that you want to achieve. Be as specific as possible when answering that question. Measurable: Make sure you track your progress and set measurable criteria, as this will help you to stay focussed and motivated. Achievable: Goals should be ambitious but not impossible. If you have a particularly big goal, make sure you break it down into smaller targets so that you constantly have something attainable to work towards. Realistic: Your goals should be set by you, not by someone else (see below – setting meaningful goals). Time-Managed: Having a goal with an open-ended completion date can lead you to lose motivation. Every goal therefore needs a deadline so you know how long you have to get to that point, and then are able to put in place a plan to achieve it.


Ilona explained that in order to ensure that we achieve our goals, we have to ask ourselves why we’re bothering to set them. This might sound easy but a number of our delegates found it difficult to bridge the link between their goals and what truly motivates them and makes them happy. To help us get to the bottom of this, Ilona asked everyone to complete a ‘life balance’ wheel. This tool essentially helps to show how you are performing in a number of different areas of your life (career and finance, friends and family, health and fitness amongst others). By undertaking this exercise, it gives you an opportunity to self-reflect on how fulfilled you are in each area of your life and where you might want to start to implement positive change. Another practical way of undertaking the same exercise would be to: · Make a list of what you do every day; · Make a list of what you makes you happy; · Compare the two lists and decide how you would split your time, in an ideal world; · Adjust your time accordingly. By undertaking this exercise, it should help you to align your longer-term goals with your intrinsic values. It may be that, for short term goals, you make a decision to focus on something which isn’t necessarily aligned with your ‘intrinsic values’ or ‘what makes you happy’ but will ultimately help you to get to where you want to be in the longer term.


It is impossible to be motivated all the time. If you want to achieve your goals, you are going to have to stick to the process that you have put in place, even when you are not feeling motivated.


Ilona explained the importance of having a positive mind-set and changing the language that you use. By way of an example, changing the words you use from “I don’t have time to [..]” to “I don’t prioritise […]” will hopefully change your outlook on how to spend your time. Further, rather than giving yourself reasons why you ‘can’t’ or ‘shouldn’t’, it is important to give yourself reasons why you can which will hopefully minimise the possibility of you letting distractions and adversity from getting in the way of achieving your goals. At JCI Manchester, we’re committed to helping you achieve your personal and professional goals this year. If you want to push yourself through training and development in a particular area, please let us know and we will endeavour to tailor our events to meet your needs. Written by Ellen Walker (JCI President).