You have big goals and powerful dreams for yourself, but do you know how to make these targets into reality? It can be hard to bridge the gap between your current situation and lofty ambition. You don’t always know how to name or quantify what you want to accomplish, much less how to make it happen. When you’re facing this problem, you can start making progress by reverse engineering your goals. Instead of focusing on where you are now, reverse engineering helps you consider the broader actions that need to happen. Learn how the SMART model of goal setting allows you to reverse engineer your dreams using plans that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART goals are a framework from the project management industry. This mindset is frequently used in the corporate world as well as in technical, research-based, and IT companies. SMART goals are built around the idea that an intention needs to be realistic to be accomplished. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These steps can and should apply to any aim you pursue.
Let’s explore each of these aspects in more detail with a fictional intent as an example. Perhaps you’ve been dabbling in affiliate marketing and are ready to take your work to the next level. Your goal could be to make enough money through affiliate product sales to quit your day job. If you’re new to the digital marketplace and have never made that much money, this plan can seem daunting or even impossible. However, the SMART model will help you make this dream a reality.
The first step to building a workable plan is setting a specific goal. Using our example, you want to make enough affiliate product sales to quit your day job. That’s a good start, but it needs more development. Be specific about what you need to make this dream happen. “Enough to live on” or “a lot of money” doesn’t give you a specific target. Instead, you should identify precisely what you want to happen.
After examining your budget, business costs, tax plan, and other business costs let’s set your specific income target at $100,000 a year. This sounds like a huge chunk of money, so let’s continue to reverse engineer the plan.
Once you set a specific goal, the next step is making sure this target is measurable. It’s vital to have some way to measure and track your progress. Measurement allows you to recognize your successes and make course corrections when needed.
Your $100,000 target is a big number, but you’re not likely to make this much money from one single sale. Instead, you’ll be making many smaller transactions over the full course of the year. When we break down the entire $100,000 milestone month by month, we see that you need to earn around $8,300 a month to meet this target. We can take that number to an even smaller unit with a weekly goal of around $1,900, or a daily sales target of $275. These smaller measurements allow us to focus on manageable steps instead of on the complete project.
Your daily sales target of $275 is a much more reasonable target than focusing on the complete $100,000 target. To make sure this aim is achievable, consider what must happen to meet your smaller steps. Perhaps you make $20 for each product sold. This means that you’ll meet your daily sales goal by moving 14 items each day.
Instead of fixating on the large, complicated task of selling $100,000 in a year, you can simply focus on selling 14 things every day. This smaller target is more achievable and accessible than the entire project. You’ll be able to see regular progress on this sales goal. Days that you make your target will offer valuable encouragement. If you don’t meet your mark on some days, you can adjust your plans immediately to catch up.
After you set an achievable goal, you should also make sure it’s relevant. Selling 14 items a day is easier to conceptualize than selling $100,000 of product in a year but is this plan relevant to your current situation? If you’ve recently established your affiliate sales program, perhaps you haven’t built an audience that will drive these purchases. In this case, you might need to set a SMART goal to create a community before you focus on driving sales.
You should also keep your endgame in mind when you’re taking steps. It’s counterproductive to put yourself at risk in the name of your dreams. For example, you might think about taking out a business or personal loan to fund your affiliate sales company. The additional funding might be beneficial but consider the impact on your ultimate plan. In this case, taking out a loan would hurt your overall aim of making a profit from your business. Always think about your actions and whether they’re relevant to your long-term.
Finally, you should set SMART goals within a particular timeframe. Deadlines are useful tools. If you think of your target as making enough money to quit your job one day in the future, you’re less likely to act with urgency. However, if your goal is to make $100,000 in the next year, you have a clear time in which to go to work.
We’ve already broken down our example into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily targets. If this was your real business, you could look at even smaller spans of time, such as morning, afternoon, and evening sales. These specific and measurable units allow you to constantly track your progress. You can learn the ebbs and flows of your business. This knowledge helps you make plans for recurring changes like seasonal shopping habits, cultural events, and trends.
Time-bound plans also help you change your plans when business isn’t going well. If you miss one day’s sales target but the rest of the week proceeds normally, this might not be a problem. However, missing weekly or monthly goals is a clear sign that your business needs work. Monitoring your time-bound plans helps you adjust course as required.
Get Going With SMART Goals
SMART goals are powerful tools to make your dreams come true. When you work within this framework, you can transform vague dreams into actionable plans. Simply start with your long-term vision in mind, then reverse engineer your plan to build your roadmap. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals allow you to focus your efforts and accomplish your dreams.
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