Get Back on Track with Your Goals Using Peter Drucker’s Time-Proven, 5-Part Goal-Setting Framework
According to Inc. magazine, about 80 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions have abandoned their goals by the first week of February. (And by this time of year, it’s probably even worse!)
For transformational leaders like us, that’s a problem. We’re wired to transform things — to take one set of circumstances, a situation, or conditions and then convert them into something even better, bolder, and more impactful. We create lives and results we love, no matter where we’re starting, what challenges we’re facing, or what resources we have. We find a way.
But our passion for achieving the “impossible” and “improbable” doesn’t mean that we’re infallible. Statistics suggest that we struggle to achieve our goals, just like most people.
Perhaps you’re like me, and you set goals (a.k.a., resolutions) and even wrote a vision for what you would love to achieve in 2021. You were hoping, dreaming, looking for, or planning to create some new results … such as growing your business, increasing your profitability, working on your health and wellbeing, or maybe improving key relationships.
But now you find yourself among the 80 percent or more of people who have fallen off track. Maybe you’ve been taking action, but haven’t yet produced the results you expected. Or maybe you’re psychologically off track and have completely forgotten what your goals are!
I set a number of goals at the beginning of the year and created a clear vision of what I would like to achieve. For some goals, I’m on track, and for others, I’m off course. If you have any part of you that’s like me — where you’ve fallen a little bit off track on one or more of your goals — here is what we’re going to do right now…
First, Take a Breath
Let go of what has – or hasn’t — happened up until now. Today is what matters.
If you’ve gotten off track, consider it feedback. You now know what not to do to achieve your goals.
Today is a brand-new day — a day for a fresh start. Let’s recommit to get back on track toward our goals — or if you’re on track, recommit to staying on track.
Next, Get SMART
Before we dive back into working toward our vision, let’s make sure our goals are defined in a way that makes it possible to achieve them. I recommend using the 5-step SMART process pioneered by business coach and consultant Peter Drucker back in the 1950s. I’ve discovered that this powerful formula offers the greatest chance or opportunity to achieve what it is that we want to achieve.
Think about what you want to achieve. Maybe it’s more money, more profitability, more impact, or more difference-making in your business. Maybe you want to create more vibrant health in this temple we call a body, so that you can be more effective in your work. Or maybe your big goal this year is to create greater intimacy, closeness, and connection in relationships, to find better ways to communicate with those that you love, to create better family ties or maybe more effective work relationships.
No matter what your biggest goal is, ask yourself, “Is my goal SMART?”
S – Specific
My goal is that I rest more or I sleep better. That is not specific; it’s general. Getting more and better rest is a good idea, but it’s not a specific goal.
Specific would be something like, “I sleep eight hours a night.” A general goal might be “I want to go to bed earlier,” while the specific goal could be, “I go to bed at 10:00 PM.”
M – Measurable
Measurement is important, because what gets measured can be managed. You want a way to tell if you’re on track or off track to achieve your goals. Are your goals measurable — and of course, are you measuring them?
With my example of wanting to get better rest, measurement might be using a fitness tracker to log when I fall asleep, when I wake up, and how many hours of sleep I get each night.
A – Achievable
For those of us who are Brave Thinkers and Dream Builders, we need to be clear about an important distinction regarding what is “achievable.” This is where we diverge from what you’ve learned about Brave Thinking and/or Dream Building.
Brave Thinking teaches you to view as entirely possible, and even probable, the dreams that “common-hour” thinking would say are unachievable. But what we’re talking about here with the SMART formula are goals. Goals are not dreams. Goals are stepping stones on the way to dream building. So a goal does need to have an element that’s achievable.
Within this formula, “achievable” means that you have enough believing power to achieve this goal. Dreams often have at least one element that you don’t know how to achieve — at least, not without the help of a higher power that you trust has the answers. Dreams are often bigger than you think you can achieve on your own.
But, remember, a goal is a step along the way. And it’s important to believe that the next step — the goal you’re working on — is achievable. As you consider your goal, do you have enough believing power to say, “Yes, this stepping stone is achievable”? There is amazing momentum that you can build when you set an achievable goal.
R – Relevant
Does your goal serve your bigger dreams? Is your goal relevant to the things that you truly want to create in your life?
My goal is to enjoy more vibrant health. Getting more and better quality rest definitely is in alignment.
T – Time-bound
You should have a specific date and time by which you will have achieved your goal.
Going back to my example of getting better rest, I could make the goal time-bound with a parameter such as, “By the end of Q1, I will have averaged eight hours a night of sleep, and 90% of the time I will have gone to bed by 10:00 PM.” By achieving the goal by the end of March (the end of Q1), it would be time-bound.
Rewrite Your Goals to Make them SMART
Today is the first day of the rest of 2021 – and of your life. You don’t have to call it quits on the year because you haven’t yet made the progress you wanted to make. You can choose to restart your progress toward your goals today.
Start by looking through your list of goals and recommitting to those you want to continue pursuing. Then verify that your goals are SMART: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. If your goals don’t pass this 5-prong test, edit them – or create new goals altogether.
I’d love to hear what goals you’re working on. Share your SMART goal below!