C-SMART Goal-Setting for Life Rocks!

January 21, 2007

In my three years of work experience I have undergone numerous training sessions. I was lucky to be selected for ‘Leadership Training’ at my workplace. The six-month long training programme which concluded in December has left me with some great learnings. One of them is the importance of setting goals and how to set goals.

The most important thing to get what you want is to know what you want. Once you do, start setting goals for yourself. Goals are important as they serve as milestones in our journey to success. They make us strive for excellence and get that extra-something out of us.

I am going to talk about a methodology that I learnt recently. It’s called the SMART Principle of Setting Goals. It’s a guideline for goal-setting.

When I was creating my profile on my personal blog at LiveJournal I was a bit confused about what I should write. For most of us who have written dozens of ‘About me‘ pages it should not be tough. But I sincerely thought what I wanted to do, and I wrote that “I want to do something big”. Now, that is also a goal. But let’s face it, millions of people want to do something. They just don’t know what that something is. That’s direction. But I am not going to talk about direction (vision) right now (I’ll be talking about this shortly); I am going to talk about a simple, yet effective methodology about setting goals. It’s called the C-SMART principle. While doing so, I will also be setting my goals about professional blogging.

Let me start with the SMART principle that I learnt at the workshop.

S — Specific — My statement on my LiveJournal profile was to do ‘something‘, not knowing what that something was. Such statements are mere statements, not goals. Hence, a better statement would be, “I want to be Rich”, or “I want to be famous”. Hence, my goal with related to blogging becomes,

I want to make my mark as a professional blogger make Life Rocks! successful.”

M — Measurable — I read this on another blog/site a few months back (I will credit the source if I recollect it, or if someone points me to it); If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This holds so true for goals. While goal-setting is a small exercise that you should do before starting out a task, it is amongst the most crucial ingredient to accomplishing it. We have all set goals at the beginning of a new year. They are called “The Dreaded New Year Resolutions“. We make them every year, and most of us break them every year. I read a lot of personal blogs about New Year Resolutions and a lot of them were quite specific, i.e., they had the direction, but lacked the criteria to measure success. My goal is to “launch my own business and make decent money before I actually get into professional gambling” from my profile on my personal blog. I earlier quoted that my goal with professional blogging is, “to be successful and make Life Rocks! a success.”

The question is, How will I know that I have succeded? Luckily, for blogs there are loads of statistics that can make success of a blog measurable. Right now, the total no. of pageviews on my blog (excluding mine) is less than 50 with no link referrals (except for a couple from my personal blog). My target is to increase this by a huge margin. To put numbers to my goal and make it measurable, I’d refine my goal as:

I want to make my mark as a professional blogger make Life Rocks! successful. I want to have about 100 pageviews a day and 50 link referrals.”

A — Attainable — This just means that you have your feet on the ground. However, don’t be in self-doubt. Dream big. Read the book The Magic of Thinking BIG by David Schwartz. It’s a wonderful book that left it’s impact on me.

But along with thinking big, you need to ensure that you do not set yourself a goal that is non-attainable. For example, when I was a kid I wanted to become Spider-Man. Now that’s unattainable. Similarly, I cannot set myself a goal to acquire Google from the money I’d make from working full-time in the operations department of my company.

So, it’s relevant that you do not get carried away. See if people have earlier achieved it. See if it is *logically* possible. My goal is pretty much attainable if I do the right things (I will talk about strategy & preparation soon). Let me re-state it here:

I want to make my mark as a professional blogger make Life Rocks! successful. I want to have about 100 pageviews a day and 50 link referrals.”

R — Realistic — Now at this point, do not get me wrong. Non-realistic goals are goals that are *logically* possible, yet *practically* impossible. For example, you can have 50% of the World’s Wealth. *Logically* I do not see a fallacy. However, *practically* it is impossible.

So, can I achieve my target of 100 pageviews a day and 50 link referrals? I can. Hence, I will keep it as it is. So, to re-state my goal:

I want to make my mark as a professional blogger make Life Rocks! successful. I want to have about 100 pageviews a day and 50 link referrals.”

T — Time-bound — Now, there is a huge thing missing from your goals unless you put an end point to it. I said earlier that goals are milestones in your journey to success. Unless you set a time-frame to reach those milestones, you will not be able to strive to get to them in your life-time. Also, goals without a suitable time-frame lose their meaning. Let’s see this for an example.

If I get 100 pageviews a day and 50 link referrals by Dec 2007 or by Dec 2015 (Phew!) makes all the difference. By Dec 2015 there may not be an element to it’s success at all. Hence, your goals need an end-point which defines the boundries in which you need to attain them. I am setting a very relevant time-frame for myself as Dec 2007. So, my goal is:

I want to make my mark as a professional blogger make Life Rocks! successful. I want to have about 100 pageviews a day and 50 link referrals by Dec 31, 2007.”

So, let’s see what we’ve done. We’ve given a specific direction to our motives and made it Specific. We’ve put it in numbers and ensured that it is Measurable. We’ve also looked at the *logical* possibilities and ensured that the goal is Attainable and Realistic. Finally, we’ve set ourselves an end date and made it Time-bound.

So, what’s the C-SMART all about?? Where is the C?? What does C stand for??

C — Challenging — That’s it! It’s important that your goals inspire you. They make you strive for excellence. They stretch you and ask you to put that extra-effort. Do you think it’s a goal to ‘just walk up to the refrigerator and drink water’? For someone who is physically challenged, it will be. But not for someone who runs in a football field. Hence, it is important to review your realities and set a challenging goal accordingly.

So is mine a challenging goal?? I don’t think so. It does not inspire me much. I know I can get to this. So, let me revise my goal for this blog and restate it.

I want to make my mark as a professional blogger make Life Rocks! successful. I want to have about 1,000pageviews a day and 250 link referrals by Dec 31, 2007.”

So, that’s the C-SMART principle for you. Have you added the challenge to your SMART goals?

If you have tell us all about it. Has the SMART principle of goal-setting worked for you? What has? What methodology do you follow to ensure that you have *meaningful* goals?


Procrastination – Your #1 Enemy

January 13, 2007

The only reason I did not publish my first post on this blog for days?? I PROCRASTINATED.

If there’s one thing that separates successful people from the unsuccessful ones, it has to be the ability to get things *done*. We are all procrastinators. Sometimes, we just are not in a mood to do things; and it’s fine. As long as this does not become a habit.

Procrastination is the deferment or avoidance of an action or task and is often linked to perfectionism. For the person procrastinating this may result in stress, a sense of guilt, the loss of productivity, the creation of crisis, and the chagrin of others for not fulfilling one’s responsibilities or commitments. Source : Wikipedia.

So, by definition, Procrastination is avoiding any task. Now, I believe that humans are innately active. But it takes special effort to ‘kick-start’ yourself (Remember the Law of Inertia ;)). Hence, it is important that we get rid of our lazy selves and start doing things that are important.

A few tips to get rid of procrastination:

1. Make a resolution to get out of the ‘habit’: Procrastination is dangerous and it easily develops into a habit. Why? Because it gives us immediate relief. You know you are not going to do anything right *now*. It is very tough to get out of habitual procrastination. So, make a resolution that you’ll never leave untill tommorow, what can be done today. And stick to it.

2. Get into the habit of completing tasks: We are all good and pumped up at times when we are able to start a ‘new’ task. It feels wonderful and we want to excel at it. But somewhere in the middle we lost focus and start putting off tasks. Much like preparations for an examination. We are all pumped up at the start of a new class or semester and we want great grades. But somewhere in the middle we lose focus. Why? Because we are distracted. The idea is to stay focused to ensure that we complete tasks. I will be writing more on ‘staying focused‘ soon. But it is important that once you start moving towards your objective, you complete the task and attain it.

3. Time-Management is the key: Procrastination leads to a time-management disaster. When you put a task off for later, you are blocking that time too. Hence, it is important that we understand the importance of our time and do not put off tasks. Maintain an organizer or diary and stick to it. Get out your blackberry and see how many tasks are ‘out’ of the due-date. If it is more than a couple you need to work on this.

4. Reward youself; Reprimand youself: This is extremely important. Incentivize your tasks. If you complete your tasks on or before schedule, reward yourself. For example, if you plan to write a post a day on your blog; reward youself if you complete it. Now, rewarding yourself is easy, but it is important that you also reprimand yourself if you do not complete your task on schedule. For example, if you want to jog for 20 minutes a day to lost weight and you fail (miserably in my case); reprimand youself by not eating your favourite food for breakfast (it works perfect in my example).

5. Get DISCPLINED: This is extremely important. Without discipline, you’ll never achieve anything. You can always shut your BlackBerry when it alerts you about a task, but it is only your discipline that will make you work towards your goal.

So, get of your butts and start working on your task. 😉

January 8, 2007

I’ve been thinking about blogging professionally for quite a long-time now; 3 months (does’nt seem that long) to be precise. I’ve been inspired by the way blogging has developed as a tool for communication for people worldwide. Such is the impact of blogging and web 2.0 that Time Magazine rates the average content creator, (that’s You and me) as the person of the year.

I’ve been working full-time for the last three years now and have gained insights into how to work in teams, and ensure productivity. However, performance of an individual is impacted to a great level by the job-satisfaction levels. Hence, I totally subscribe to the idea of doing what you like. In my short career I’ve learnt that attaining balance between personal and professional life is very tough. But, if we do a few things well and inculcate a few habits we can do better and lead a happy life.

I’m going to share these with you in the coming few days. So, keep visiting this blog. Subscribe to my feed and check what’s cooking here every now and then!