With the new year, we get an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start all over. Many books advocate setting SMART goals. Which stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time-Bound

I like the specific and measurable parts of SMART but whole-heartidly disagree with attainable and realistic. These can be interpreted as a don't bite off more than you can chew mindset. Consider the most significant goal you’ve ever achieved. Maybe you completed a triathlon, doubled your income, or lost 40 pounds. Now ask yourself:

  • Was that accomplishment easy or hard to achieve?
  • Did I exert a little or a lot of effort to reach that goal?

Most likely you had to work very hard to accomplish these goals. Learn a new trick or two in order to accomplish these milestones in life. Two things I would consider are:

  1. What are the 3-5 most important skill you'll need to develop to achieve this goal?
  2. How will you develop these goals?

HARD goals

Mark Murphy of Leadership IQ coined the concept acronym of HARD goals, which stands for:

■ H for Heartfelt: Are you emotionally attached to this goal? Does this goal push you to avoid something much less desirable? This can often be seen as your "why" for doing what you're doing. 

■  A for Animated: This is about visualising the goal. Simply closing your eyes for a moment and picturing how your life would be different once the goal was achieved. Others use a vision board with clippings and photos as a peek into the future. The more vivid and animated one can be, the greater their chances for success. 

■ R for Required: Is the goal absolutely necessary for your own or your company’s success? If you are unable to sell your product will you be unable to pay for your rent?

■  D for Difficult: Goals that require us to learn a new skill set tend to be one that moves us from our comfort zone. 

In 2016 are you going to set more easy goals that you may or may not complete? Or will you tackle those HARD goals you've been talking yourself out of because you wanted to be "realistic".

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars"- Les Brown

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