Over the years I have talked about SMART goals with our ICAP members and at our annual Creative Arts Business Summit. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. (Here is a link to read more about SMART goals.) If you are going to set goals, you should have some way of measuring and holding yourself accountable for achieving them. Once you take time to decide on the goals and write them SMARTly, what happens next? One of my favorite tools is to create “goal cards.”
Goal Cards go back to the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Hill listed six specifics, which are embodied in SMART goals and goal cards. Most of us are good about making sure our goals are SMART. The step that most of us do not take is Hill’s sixth: “Read your written assignment aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after rising in the morning. AS YOU READ – SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.”
The key is that you write out your goal as if you have already achieved it on a card. For example: I am so happy and grateful that I have, I create, I attract, etc., … You write the goal in the present tense, and if you continue to read your goal each day, your conscious mind sets to work on your subconscious mind to retrain it to believe it is true — and you move forward. I also added something about how I feel – happy and grateful. I could have used “I easily create….” It is about associating the feeling of completion with the goal. I like to use multi-colored index cards keyed to certain areas of my life, one goal per card. Do not go overboard; I usually have five goal cards and I create them for a period of 6-12 months. Occasionally I have created a goal card for a month when I felt the need.
Once you have created your goal cards, here are some tips to move forward toward those goals:
- Review your goals daily. I think the best time is first thing in the morning, so it sets your day off on a positive note. It is also a good idea to review them again at night. Try visualizing the goal as already completed and yourself enjoying the rewards of completion. You might create several goal cards for the same goal and in addition to the one you see when you wake up and when you go to sleep, you might leave one in your studio or on the dashboard of your car.
- “Chunk” down the goal into small steps. That is how any goal is actually achieved, with small steps. And a large goal does not look overwhelming when you have broken it down. You could use a “mind-mapping” technique to accomplish this.
- Take three to five steps toward completion of your goal each day. Again, they do not have to be big steps, just something that moves you towards your goal. The small steps compound.
- Ask yourself if what you are doing moves you closer to or further from your goal. If it moves you closer, you are on the right track. If not, you need to rethink your decision. The difference between action and activity is movement towards the achievement of your objective.
- Each day review your progress and track any coincidences that mean you are on the right track.
- Share your goals and action steps with a coach or friend who can keep you on track. I have an accountability partner and am part of a coaching group that keeps me on track.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes on goal setting,
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”
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Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.
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