by Colleen Flood*
My nine year old son came home from swim team practice the other day with a print out of his best times and an assignment to set a goal to improve on each. His first attempt at putting his goals on paper read like this: “I will do better than 44.84 on my 50 yard backstroke.” “That’s great,” I told him, but then asked, “How much better?” I guided him to set specific, tangible numbers and explained that he wanted to reach his goals so they must also be realistic.
We all know goals are essential to success in our lives. Both personally and professionally we utilize goals to keep us moving forward. As we see from my son’s assignment, both children and grownups need goals to stay on track.
After helping him complete his little assignment (which he wrote down and taped on his water bottle) I started thinking about my own personal and professional goals. Are they big enough for the year ahead? Are they focused? Are they reachable? Most important, are they written down and taped up where I can see them each day? I decided to reevaluate my goals with a technique I learned about a year ago when BurrellesLuce had Martin Riesenberg, author of How to Stop Whining and Start Winning and life coach, instruct our sales staff on goal setting. He advised our team to write down our goals – if we think it, ink it! Martin also suggested the SMART method of goal setting:
Specific: Be unambiguous as to exactly what it is you want to achieve.
Measurable: Reaching your goals is a step-by-step process. Be sure to assess your goals on a regular basis to see if they align with your objectives.
Attainable: Make your goals realistic – like I explained to my son, don’t set your goals so high that you won’t reach them. You might even consider breaking larger goals down into more manageable and achievable chunks.
Relevant: Does your goal have significance in your personal or professional life? In Business is it aligned with your overall business objective?
Time Frame: When do you want to achieve your goal? Write the date down on paper.
Goals are very powerful and can help you change things that are not working in your personal or professional life or serve as positive reinforcement for those things that are working. By the way, my son beat his breast stroke goal by 3 seconds! He was so pleased with his accomplishment.
My goals for the New Year are going to be SMART. How do you set goals?
*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce