Now that we are well into the new year, it is helpful to think about your goals and how best to achieve them. In the fast paced world of private sector security, it is important to establish your own personal goals and consider where you want to be over the next month, three months, six months, and a year. Setting SMART goals and considering effective goal achievement strategies will help you stay on track and push you to grow.
SMART Goal Setting
Goal setting is about identifying what you want to achieve and how. A good goal motivates and energizes, it is inspiring and challenges you. Goal setting is the first step in every personal development process. When thinking about how to establish actionable and achievable goals, using the SMART process is a great way to start. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Developing SMART goals can help you by:
- Providing SPECIFIC tasks: Creating specific goals and separating them into tasks can help you understand the steps you need to take to accomplish long-term objectives. This can also assist you with making a realistic estimate of how much time it may take you to reach your goals.
- Identifying if your goals are MEASURABLE: To ensure your goal is measurable, consider establishing a timeline, which can help you determine how many tasks to complete, how much time to spend on each task, and how much time it may take to achieve your overall goal.
- Making sure your goals are ACHIEVABLE: Since some tasks are easier to accomplish over a longer period of time, setting long-term goals and using milestones may help you ensure your goals are achievable. Determining whether your goals are achievable can also help you identify whether it’s necessary to gain additional skills.
- Determining if your goals are RELEVANT: When developing goals, it is helpful to evaluate them to ensure they’re relevant. This can help you change, update or refine your goals to make sure they apply to your needs.
- Creating TIME-BASED approaches for your goals: Developing a timeframe can help you measure your progress by allowing you to visualize the progress you are making toward a particular goal. This can help you set realistic deadlines and update unrealistic ones.
Accomplishing Your Goals
Setting goals is only the beginning. After taking the time to identify your goals, accomplishing them can be overwhelming at times and it can be difficult to stay on track. Here are some effective tips to achieve your goals to the best of your ability:
- Make them Visible. When you make your goals visible, it takes them out of your mind and makes them more real. If you set goals and never look at them again, it decreases your odds of completing them. Write them down so you can refer to them often, and put them somewhere you can see them regularly (on a sticky note near your computer, on your fridge, in your phone, etc).
- Have a Plan and Set Priorities. Write an action plan to achieve your goals and measure your progress. Determine which goals are short-term goals, and long-term goals. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and it helps to direct your attention to the most important ones. Ask yourself, “what goals are most important right now? Which goals will take longer to achieve?”
- Create Sub-Goals and Identify Obstacles. Goals are often long-term and abstract by nature, so make them more digestible by breaking them down and highlighting any challenges you might face along the way. Recognizing what these problems might be and taking note of them, will make them less intimidating and clear the path to success. And think about the sub-goals you need to complete to bring your goals into fruition.
- Allow for Time and Space. Allow yourself the time and space to achieve your goals. Even the smallest act makes you one step closer to your goals. You can: utilize time management tools such as time-boxing or time-blocking; improve your focus through meditation, exercise, and taking breaks; spend the most time on your key tasks related to your goals; and limit your distractions.
- Be Accountable. Trying to accomplish a goal entirely by yourself can be lonely and overwhelming. Accountability helps you make consistent, steady progress, and keeps you striving toward your goals. Share your goals with your supervisor and have regular check-ins regarding your progress. If comfortable, share your goals with a teammate, colleague or family member, particularly if they have similar goals.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help. Even if you have a plan, seeking advice from others can not only help, it can also save you from figuring everything out on your own. Look around you–who do you know has already accomplished the goal you are trying to achieve? Be specific with your questions when you ask for advice.
And always remember to enjoy your success! When you achieve a goal, take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Observe the progress you have made. If you achieved the goal too easily, make the goal harder. If the goal took longer than anticipated to achieve, make the goal a little easier. If you learned something that would change other goals, put those new learnings in place for next time.
Happy goal setting!
Author: Becky Root, Concentric’s Program Manager for Intelligence and Investigations and certified ICF coach.