Do you find achieving your goals is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow we read about in St Patricks’ day poetry or lore of the Leprechauns?
If so, I’d like to offer a little Leprechaun poetri to turn your SMART goals into reality.
We’ve all made them, those SMART goals that we end up forgetting about, beating ourselves up over, and wondering why we fail again and again to the point where we just quit making those goals. You know the goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed (SMART). Or, some variation on this. As we go through the steps, we agonize to make sure we include all of the elements and word it correctly.
Then we watch and wait, and wait, and wait — but they never happen. Okay, I’m exaggerating. We go out and start working on it, but somewhere along the way something else, usually life, gets in the way and the goal is forgotten about.
A smart man once said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” (that was Albert Einstein). You may say, yeah. I keep setting goals and I don’t achieve them, so why set goals, I mean that sounds like insanity. But is it really? I don’t think so. I think it is that we are only doing part of the same thing over and over. I suggest that you make SMART goals with POETRI.
You ask what POETRI? Yes, that’s correct. I will assume you already know what SMART means for making goals (if not see three paragraphs above or for more details go to Wikipedia). So what does POETRI stand for, you ask? It stands for those things you need to make your goals happen. It is the Planning, Organization, Execution, Tracking, Rewards, and Improvement that will help you to achieve your goals (and maybe even find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow).
Planning is the art and science of determining how your goals fit into your values. It includes creating a powerful vision of what successfully completing your goal will look like. It allows you to see, smell, taste and hear the goal in a way that it becomes real in your mind.
Organization is breaking the work down into manageable and recognizable activities with the milestones or markers that represent progress. Manageable so that they can be completed. Recognizable so that you can see when you succeed. It is also acquiring and employing those resources necessary to be successful. Space, time, people and money can be resources.
Execution is simply doing what needs to be done. It includes managing the resources that you have to accomplish the goal. This can include money, time, and people — that is, groups of people and their collective actions. It also includes leadership. Leading yourself and others. Unlike Managing, leadership is about people, individually — yourself and others — you motivate and inspire the people around you to achieve excellence, to embrace and make your vision a reality.
Tracking is seeing where you have been and come from. You compare it to where you want to be and where you thought you’d be. It is the act of accounting for progress or non-progress. It tells you if your vision is too vague, your resources insufficient, or whether there is a lack of motivation. It provides the indicators as to whether you have arrived at any milestones or markers.
Rewards are the little things you provide yourself or others to remind you that the goal is important. They are also an added incentive to keep going. They don’t have to be elaborate, they could be high fives all around. Or if the milestone is major, it could be a bonus. But the intent is to remind and acknowledge the achievement.
Improvement is not necessarily a way to accomplish the initial goal, but it is what should be considered throughout the goal. Life changes, priorities change, and often times our goals have to shift with those changes. Or the requirements to achieve the goal may change, so how we achieve it must adapt as well. As you progress toward your goal, you should ask: is this goal really what I want now, are these plans for achieving it still valid, is this organization the right one, are we executing efficiently, etc.
We make and achieve goals every day. Some are simple and go unnoticed, like getting up in the morning and beginning our day. Others are more complex and require attention, and sometimes feel like they are that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But with a little POETRI our goals can become reality, and in some cases might even lead to a little gold.
Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think about how to achieve SMART goals in the comments.