Written goals are dreams with deadlines

By Sharon Lewis

Sharon Lewis, owner of Adivcoach, shares with us some strategies to help set your goals, and accomplish them! Sharon will be speaking at our January chapter meeting.

Written goals are dreams with deadlines

What is the vision for your practice? What would you like to achieve in the next year or the next 3 months? Having dreams are one thing but actually accomplishing them can be hard work! Here are some strategies and tips on how to take your vision and turn it into something that you can work toward and achieve.

Goals are more likely to be achieved if you describe them as “SMART” goals- Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound. An example of a dream or goal is, “I want to buy a car.” An example of a SMART goal is, “By the end of next year, I will have saved $200 a month for 13 months to put 25% down on a used car.”

Specific: A clearly described goal will help you focus your efforts and get motivated. Try and answer these questions about your goal(s):

  • What is it that I want to accomplish in the next X months?
  • This goal is important to me/my practice because….
  • Who else is involved in making this goal a reality?
  • What additional resources (e.g. people, money, equipment, location) do I, or we, need to make this goal a reality?

 Measurable: What gets measured gets done. Regularly assessing how you are doing helps you focus on progress. You use the information to make decisions and adjust your path along the way, allowing you to achieve better results and stay motivated. These measurements are indicators of performance and tell you when what you’re doing is working (or not), and when you’ve reached your goal and it’s time to celebrate. Some examples would be the number of new clients per month, the average number of visits per client per month, or the average customer survey rating.

Actionable: What are the steps that you’ll need to take to achieve the goal? Do you need the buy-in and cooperation of any other people? Who ‘owns’ each action or project? Three to five actions per goal, per person, is about as much as the mind can grasp at one time. Accomplish the highest priority actions and then add new ones.

Realistic: There’s nothing more disheartening than a goal unrealized because it wasn’t based in reality. It’s good to create stretch goals (things that you have to work hard to achieve) but they do need to be attainable. With an achievable goal you’ll be able to outline the steps to answer, “How can I achieve this goal?” You will be able to look at your current resources and identify constraints that can be addressed to make your goal possible.

Time-bound: Every goal, and every action leading to a goal, needs a target date so that you have a deadline to work toward. This will also help you prioritize these actions against your day to day activities. Some larger goals may also need specific milestones or incremental steps added to the timeframe.

Increase your chances of achieving your goals by writing them down and communicating them! People who don’t write down their goals tend to fail more often than those who have a plan. Your written goals are like your GPS- you know where you want to go and now you know what road you’ll take to get there. Under each written goal, write 3 to 5 action steps that will move you toward that goal. (These should also be SMART.) Who else needs to assist you to achieve your goal? If you can, involve them in the goal-setting process to get their buy-in. Otherwise, communicate your goal and not only why it is important to you, but why it should be important to them. Vision is very important when a business is starting out- it gets people excited about the business, but as the business develops and grows it becomes more important to make sure your people are aligned with that vision. Having your vision translated into goals and actions will help you get the team aligned, make sure you are all working toward the same vision, and make it something concrete and measurable.

To make it more likely that you will achieve your vision for your practice: set SMART goals and actions, communicate them, measure them, track progress and don’t forget to celebrate success! Good luck and push yourself to achieve your dreams.