Specificity: The Soul of Goals

Fresh Year, Fresh Start; time for some goal setting! I have some colleagues who groan so loudly when it's time to set goals, but I think they're so. very. necessary. Remember, it's important to make them SMART; specific, measurable, achievable, relatable, timely. Without these steps, goals can veer quickly into the New Year's Resolution category of "probable failure with a side of shame". 

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By making your goals specific, you're laying the foundation for all of the other elements of a successful goal. In research, we always say the best questions are the smallest, and in some ways, the same is true for goals. I don't mean the audacity of the nature of the goal, I simply mean the execution of it. 

Not making any sense? 

Here's some examples of goals without specificity:

+ To become a rock star. Problems: there's a load of things in there you cannot control and therefore cannot work intentionally towards. This is more vision casting/dreaming language, not goal setting. Change to: record four original songs to YouTube by July. 

+ To go to the gym more. Problems: "more" is a fuzzy word and fuzzy is not what we're going for here. Plus, what are you going to do at the gym? Why are you going to the gym? Change to: pursue a healthier lifestyle, including going to the gym 2x per week.

+ To make more money. Problems: again with "more" and fuzziness. Plus, how are you going to do that? Get a new job? Demand a raise? Change to: evaluate our budget and determine what salary I want to go for in the next job. 

With just a few tweaks, that admittedly require more thought, a fuzzy dream becomes an accomplishable goal. In our next step, we'll talk about making goals measurable. Hint: numbers are your friend.