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If You Want to Get Bigger Things Done in 2018, Read This

If You Want to Get Bigger Things Done in 2018, Read This

You may think of Starbucks as a great place to grab a coffee, but they’ve actually got a fascinating goal that they’re aiming for. Their ambition is to be recognized as much for their commitment to social responsibility – as the quality of their coffee. And they want to reach this goal by 2020.[1]

To help reach this worthy ambition, Starbucks plans to offer sustainable coffee, eco-friendly stores, employment opportunities for military veterans (and their spouses), youth and refugees, and food share and community service.

How will they achieve these targets? The company is committed to planting 100 million trees to farmers by 2025, double the recycled content, recyclability and the reusability of Starbucks cups by 2020, hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses, and rescue 100 percent of food available to donate by 2020 in U.S. company-owned stores. (And many more.)

    This Starbucks’ plan is essentially based on the SMART goal principles. With a deadline of 2020 (just three years), they’re stretching their potential to get big things done as soon as possible.

    SMART Goal vs Stretch Goal

    In November 1981, George T. Doran, a consultant and former Director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, published a paper titled: There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives. It’s believed that this was the first time the acronym SMART was written down.

    Maybe you’ve already known or tried a SMART goal, but let’s just have a recap of what SMART stands for:[2]

    • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
    • Measurable – quantify, or at least suggest, an indicator of progress.
    • Assignable – specify who will do it.
    • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved given available resources.
    • Timeline – specify when the result can be achieved.

    This clear and simple framework has revolutionized the way many people and companies implement their goal setting.

    How about Stretch goals? Stretch goals allow you to stretch your imagination, potential and ability. It’s when our creativity and imagination comes up with what we believe are winning ideas – but we don’t necessarily have any concrete steps on how to achieve them. This can often make Stretch goals seem like make-believe, as the goals are often very challenging.

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    On the left, you can see a straight path leading to a country. This is how your SMART goal looks when in action. You have a clear direction and a definite goal.

    On the right, you can see a blurry, meandering path to an unknown continent. This is how your Stretch goal looks when in action. You have an uncertain route to take on the way to a goal that is so big – that you can’t be sure you’ll ever reach it.

      SMART Goals are Concrete but Rigid

      SMART goals offer a concrete plan of action so people know exactly what to do to achieve the desired goal. They are more motivating because the plan of action demonstrates how the goal is attainable. They also make visualizing progress easy, and missed targets can be spotted quickly.

        However, the focus on specific set targets to reach the goal can result in people missing the bigger picture. If the goals are too easy to achieve, then the potential is lost to attain greater success. For creative types, the rigidity of SMART goals may prove to be too robotic or dull.

          Stretch Goals are Daring but Vague

          Stretch goals inspire people to think BIG and push their limits of potential and ability. They allow people to keep their focus on the BIG picture, and encourage creative approaches because often unconventional ways are needed to achieve herculean goals.

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            But stretch goals can be demotivating. They lack concrete plans on how to get started, and how to progress and can lead to excessive risk-taking.

              Go SMART, or Stretch It?

              If you choose to go down the SMART goal route, you have the best chance of achieving your goal, but you may miss out on reaching your highest potential.

              On the other hand, if you choose to go down the Stretch goal route, you may push yourself to your limits, but ultimately fail to reach your desired destination.

                Clearly, SMART and Stretch goals have distinctive pros and cons. However, some circumstances will be best suited to one or the other.

                SMART goals are best when:

                • You have a vague plan, and have no idea how to turn the plan/idea into results.
                • You have a great idea/goal that you want to achieve, but you aren’t sure HOW to make it happen.
                • You need to kickstart yourself or your company into some action (e.g., reading one book a week, gaining 100 new customers a month).

                Stretch goals are best when:

                • You have a concrete plan, and you don’t see a problem making it happen. (It’s probably time to stretch it more!)
                • You want to break through stability and take your achievements to the next level (e.g., reading 3 books a week, gaining 500 customers a month).

                Discover the Sweet Spot

                Could there be a ‘middle way’ that combines the pros of each goal type while eliminating the cons? Yes, there certainly is.

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                If you’re not sure what goal type to choose, then instead, try combining the two goal types into one.

                  For example, if your goal is to be a competent guitar player, that would lend itself to being a SMART goal. With lessons and practice you could become a competent guitar player in under a year. However, why not blend in some Stretch goal thinking to inject some excitement into your goal. Dream big and outside of the box, and set your Stretch goal as: “To become a full-time, professional musician within three years.”

                  Now you have the best of both worlds. A short-term attainable goal, backed by a bigger, more inspiring dream.

                  Again, see yourself in the maze. Walking slowly through it, you know that you can eventually find your way out. However, imagine if you found a rocket in the maze, and you could instantly blast your way to freedom!

                  Start Achieving Right Now

                  Ready to start on the road to success? You just need to do three things:

                  1. Stretch your mind.
                  2. Get SMART.
                  3. Get working!

                  I’ll give you an example of this, so you can see how it’s done.

                  Imagine that you want to take up running as a hobby and a way to boost your health and fitness. If you lack any goals around this, you may run a few evenings, but then become demotivated and give up.

                  However, there is another way.

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                  Bring drama and stimulation to the table by choosing a Stretch goal of completing your first ever marathon.

                  Sounds too much? It should do, as the goal is designed to stretch your potential and ability. However – and here is the real secret – set yourself some SMART goals that specifically prepare you for the end destination… 26 miles of nonstop running!

                  Your SMART goals could include:

                  • Specific sub-goal: Run 7 miles without stopping.
                  • Measurable: Run twice around the park, no walking.
                  • Achievable?: Sure, if I run three times a week.
                  • Realistic?: Sure, if I wake up early every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
                  • Timeline: Run 3 miles this week, 4 miles next week, 5 miles…

                  I’m sure you get the idea.

                  By blending the power of SMART and Stretch goals, you can turn yourself into a super-achiever. And if you have your own company, you can begin putting it on the fast-track to major success.

                  So, Stretch, be SMART, and enjoy the journey!

                  Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

                  Reference

                  More by this author

                  Leon Ho

                  Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                  Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                  How to Set Goals Smartly to Accomplish More in Life

                  How to Set Goals Smartly to Accomplish More in Life

                  We all know setting goals is the best way to give your life focus and direction. But did you know that by setting goals, it can also help you to get a lot more of your important work done?

                  Having clear and effective goals that are built around your values focuses your mind on what is important. It helps you filter out the unnecessary and gives you an ‘outcome mindset’ rather than a ‘task mindset’.

                  An outcome mindset is one where you are focused on the objective—the outcome— of what you are intending to achieve. A task mindset focuses on the tasks you have to do each day and this leads to completing unnecessary tasks (or spending too much time on the unimportant) and procrastination.

                  To help you with transforming yourself from being focused on the tasks and to be focused on the outcome, here are 17 ways having clear goals will not only increase your productivity but also supercharge your ability to get the important things done:

                  1. Make it a goal to have no more than 10 tasks on your to-do list each day.

                  One of the surprising benefits of having a small number of goals for the day is how frequently you find yourself accomplishing more.

                  When you have a random number of tasks to complete each day, the likelihood is you will not get them all done.

                  When you set yourself a small number of tasks to complete—your “must completes” for the day—and you restrict these to a set number, you are much more likely to get them done.

                  2. Decide what your monthly and weekly goals are.

                  What do you want to accomplish this month? What do you want to accomplish this week? These questions focus you in on the things that are important to you.

                  Most people are waiting for life to happen to them, after all, it is far easier to react to events around you than to create events around you.

                  When you create the events in your life by having weekly and monthly goals that reflect your objectives for the year, you are going to get far more of your important work done.

                  3. Work on what’s important to you and focus on your priorities

                  Building your daily life around your goals is going to keep you on the path you want to follow.

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                  Without any goals directing you towards where you want to go, you will find yourself drifting off your desired path and aimlessly wandering through life, wondering how you got to where you are. More often than not, where you end up will not be where you want to be.

                  4. Eliminate the unimportant tasks that come up each day

                  Every day throws up a lot of unexpected issues. These issues often come from our bosses, clients/customers and friends and family. It does not matter how well planned your day is, these things are going to happen.

                  When you have a set number of goals to achieve each day, these issues will not hijack your day and destroy it. You will find you can handle the unexpected while continuing to get on with your important work for the day.

                  5. Always stay focused

                  When you set goals, it means you have made a decision about what it is you want to achieve and what is important to you. This allows you to become a much more focused person because you are mindful of what you want.

                  Focus, in today’s world, is a skill in short supply. By developing your focus, you are going to put yourself way ahead of everyone else.

                  6. Begin the day with a goal

                  One of the best ways to accomplish more of your important tasks each day is to begin the day with a clear goal.

                  It could be to complete a specific project or to simply get outside and walk for thirty minutes in nature.

                  When you start the day with a specific goal to do something, you are much more likely to get it done.

                  7. Start small

                  If you have never had an outcome-orientated mindset, then begin will small steps.

                  A simple goal to have each day, and a very healthy one, is to go for a thirty-minute walk.

                  Another simple goal to set for the day is to choose one piece of work that you will complete that day, then focus all your attention on getting that work completed before you finish for the day.

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                  These pieces of completed work add up over time, and you’ll find that you are getting far more done than you ever did before.

                  8. Ask yourself: What one thing you could do today that would have the biggest positive impact on your day?

                  This is a great way to accomplish even the hardest of goals.

                  Asking yourself this question really helps you discover what projects and work are important. This question is not focused on completing the goal. This question is all about making progress on the goal.

                  Once you have completed that task, you will find the next step happens naturally. Before you know it, you have made a huge impact on your goal.

                  9. Consistently take small steps which lead to great distances

                  One of the biggest reasons why most people never achieve their goals is their goals seem impossible because of the time and effort required to achieve them.

                  The best way to make even the most difficult goals achievable is to break them down into small manageable steps. Even the smallest step moves you forward towards achieving the goal.

                  Just two or three little steps completed every day will, over time, take you towards where you want to be.

                  Want to write a book? Writing 500 words per day will give you a 60,000-word manuscript in around ten months.

                  10. Plan what you are going to achieve the day before with the 2+8 Prioritization System

                  This one always works. Before you finish your day’s work, take ten minutes or so and decide what two things you will achieve the next day. This is what I call my “two objectives”.

                  Once you have decided on your objectives, write down eight other tasks you want to complete the next day. These tasks I call my “focus tasks”.

                  You then make sure that whatever gets thrown at you the next day, you will complete these ten tasks.

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                  Over a period of one month, you will have achieved around 300 meaningful tasks all related to your goals and important work.[1]

                  11. Know what your majors and minors are

                  This one is the secret of all highly successful people. They know what work has the most impact on their life and business and what work does not.

                  For example, checking emails, while necessary, is not a major task. It does not move you forward in any meaningful way. Talking to your most important customer and reinforcing your strong relationship with them, that’s a major.

                  One of the best examples I’ve heard comes from Brian Tracy. In his example, Brian says a salesperson doing work in the office is doing minor work. A salesperson talking with a customer is doing major work.

                  Focus all your time and energies on your major work and reduce the time you spend on your minor work.

                  12. Add positive pressure to get more done

                  When you have goals, you feel obligated to do something about them. When you do not have a goal, you are much more likely to procrastinate and spend unproductive time thinking about what to do next.

                  Goals give you clarity, goals give you purpose and when you have both clarity and purpose, you find you no longer procrastinate and you utilize your time much more effectively.

                  13. Have specific, clear goals to incentivise you to move forward.

                  How you write the action steps related to your goals is important. If you have a goal that says “make an online course,” you will not achieve very much.

                  Writing your action steps out such as “make progress on the online course outline” or “make five slides for online course” is specific and is going to lead to action and achievement.

                  14. Make progress that drives more progress

                  When you see you are making progress on your goals every day, you will find you begin getting much more done.

                  Momentum is created once you start and when momentum begins you find positive habits develop. Put momentum and motive together and you have the ingredients for massive progress towards your goals and your work.

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                  15. Take up accountability

                  Something amazing happens to our brains when we set ourselves goals. Having goals we are very clear about and determined to achieve gives our brains the necessary incentive to focus on getting the goal achieved.

                  We have accountability to ourselves. That accountability gives us all the incentive we need to get the work done every day.

                  16. Use the power of Parkinson’s Law

                  Parkinson’s Law states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

                  When you have set goals to achieve each day and you begin the day with a review of what you want to get completed, Parkinson’s Law will take over.

                  This means no matter what else gets thrown at you throughout the day, if you have set yourself a time, you will finish your work for the day, you will find you will finish what you have planned for the day at that time. This one works brilliantly.

                  17. Become a highly focused, goal achieving individual

                  Having goals you are focused on each day develops a ‘can do’ mindset. When you have a strong ‘can do’ mindset and the discipline to focus on what you want to get accomplished each day, you find work you previously thought would take weeks and months to complete soon start being completed within hours or days.

                  A great mindset and a strong work ethic, coupled with daily goals will make some very positive changes in your life.

                  These 17 tips are just the start. When you begin focusing your daily activities on your goals instead of on your tasks, you will see an incredible transformation take place in your life.

                  Your energy increases, you feel happier more often and you start to feel you are making progress on the things that are important to you which just leads to accomplishing more and more.

                  More About Setting & Achieving Goals

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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