For years, I was a mentor in a teen mentoring program, and we’d set goals at the start of each semester. This was one of the most difficult meetings of the year; attendance was low, the kids were unruly, and there was more whining than usual.
It was difficult because the kids were always striving for “straight A’s,” even though most of them were lucky to get a C. The conversation became awkward when we asked them what they were going to do differently to change the outcome.
When it comes to goal-setting, adults don’t necessarily make smarter decisions than teenagers – somehow, when it comes to our ability to achieve goals, we tend to believe we are immune to the laws of time and physics. Wasting time playing party poker video rarely helps you achieve your goals!
But, if you can combine the two types of goals so that they work in tandem, you have a real chance of accomplishing anything you set your mind to.
Goals Are Divided Into Two Types
1. Outcome-Based Objectives
Outcome-based goals include statements such as “I want to lose 10 pounds by July 4th” or “I want to ship my ebook by the end of the month.” Your goal is solely focused on the desired outcome – there is no mention of HOW you will get there. I love outcome-based goals, and they are often the ones we fantasize about, but they are also more difficult to achieve because you have no direct control over whether or not you will achieve them.
2. Behavior-Based Objectives
Behavior-based goals are intermediate goals that aid in the achievement of our outcome-based goal. Whether you achieve them or not is entirely dependent on how much time you devote to them. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds by July 4th, you will most likely need to make changes to your diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress levels, and so on. In this case, you could say that you need to exercise for 30 minutes 5 times per week, sleep for at least 7 hours per night, and completely avoid refined carbs – all of which you can choose to achieve or not.
Both types of goals are extremely valuable, and I believe they deliver a powerful one-two punch when combined. You select an outcome-based goal and then set behavior-based goals to help you achieve your outcome-based goal.
Setting Goals in the S.M.A.R.T. Way
I’ve seen people repeatedly fail to make their goals S.M.A.R.T. But it’s a very sensible model to use, providing a great framework for taming that ambition and increasing the chances of crossing that goal off your bucket list (or even your weekly to-do list).
- Specific: You must have a specific goal in mind. For example, I’d like to finish my ebook by the end of the month.
- Measurable: How long will that ebook be (in terms of words or pages)? While you may not know how long it will be until you write it, you probably have an idea of whether it will be a 30-pager or a 100-pager. Setting a measurable goal is essential for staying on track.
- Attainable: Is it possible to complete your goal within the timeframe you’ve set? If it’s 100 pages and you only have 7 days left in the month, you’re probably not going to be able to complete it. Examine your calendar and other commitments in your life to determine how much time you can devote to the goal. It is preferable to revise the target than to miss it.
- Relevance: Is the goal you’re setting important to you or your overall goals? There is nothing wrong with pursuing a passion for the sake of pursuing it, but it is important to recognize this in your goal-setting because now may not be the time to pursue this specific goal.
- Time-Bound: You must have an end date. In the case of our ebook, the outcome-based goal has a deadline of the end of the month, and our behavior-based goal could be to write 1,500 words per day.
Also read : Achieve Goals in 7 Effective Ways
Setting goals leads to project management
The strange thing about goal-setting is that it isn’t all that dissimilar to project management.
- Our outcome-based goal in project management is to successfully implement the project.
- Workback plans are behavior-based goals.
- The project manager enforces the S.M.A.R.T. component by appropriately “loading” his or her resources – you can’t be in meetings for 6 hours a day and complete two 4-hour deliverables each day.
So, the next time you have an audacious goal to pursue, put on your project management hat (or contact your favorite project manager friend) and ask them to assist you in developing a strategy.
How do you set objectives? Do you combine the two types of goals?