What is a S.M.A.R.T. Goal?

Goal Setting Small Businesses Healthcare Support

As January and February pass, the urgency to fulfill New Year’s resolutions falls by the wayside. It’s easy to forget about them, especially if you already feel like you’ve failed and not achieved your goal. One of my two resolutions is to increase my cardiovascular-aerobic health; specifically, to gain two hours of breathing while having an elevated heart rate. (Because setting a goal to “work out more” is not S.M.A.R.T.) This goal supports my desire to perform long distance paddling with greater efficiency, and to finish the MR340 with a better time!

If you don’t know, the MR340 is a 340 mile long-distance paddling race down the Missouri River from Kansas City to St. Charles, and this August I will be participating and paddling for a cause. My cause, and my second resolution, is to raise money for Lydia’s House, a St. Louis charity that helps victims of domestic violence.

To help achieve this goal, and achieve it well, I have a seven-month training plan to increase my overall physical conditioning, as well as two peers who are serving as coaches and accountability partners to help me stay on track.

As with any goal setting, such as our annual goals for our businesses in 2020, it is vital to document the plan to achieve the goal. Firstly, figuring out the “why” of your goals is vital to keep you and your team laser-focused on executing the plan. Next, you have to measure and report on progress towards the goal to ensure it stays on track. Adding accountability via a peer group to your leadership process helps keep you focused on completing your plan and hence drives success in achieving your stated goals.

This month I will be tackling my first official race of 2020 at the St. Louis St. Patrick’s Day Festivities. Instead of easing myself in with a 3 mile option, I’m jumping straight to the 5 mile run. I believe in setting goals that are higher than I can comfortably reach – after all, if it’s easy, it isn’t going to drive innovation or improvement. My focus is working my way towards two hours of running, or completing a half marathon (13.2 miles) by May.

Having a big, lofty goal (or as I’ve heard them called, BHAG – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) is a good way to keep your team striving for constant improvement. By trying to figure out how to achieve THAT, even if you fail, you will learn how to accomplish everything else to a higher standard. And if you stick with that BHAG for long enough, you might find yourself achieving it despite yourself. Then, it’s time to figure out an even MORE audacious goal, and start aiming for that.

Feel free to keep me accountable to these goals by asking me about what I’ve done in the last week or two towards training for the Paddle for a Cause 340. Let me know what your goals are for this year. Together, we can push ourselves to keep on track with SMART goals and ambitious dreams.