New Year’s Resolutions vs. SMART Goals

I recently blogged that 2012 was the greatest year of my life so far but today is January 15, 2013 so the fact of the matter is that 2012 is a series of wonderful memories and 2013 is going fast.  
Many people set New Year’s Resolutions and the vast majority of those are never achieved because the people who set them do not have a plan to reach them.  This an old acronym regarding goal setting that says the key to achieving goals is that they need to be:
  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Attainable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Timely
My goals are always the same every year — to be physically fit, financially secure, spiritually grounded and to foster good relationships with the people I love.  These are noble but vague goals. 
The first two letters of the acronym — Specific and Measurable — go hand in hand.  Instead of setting a goal to be physically fit, I have set a SPECIFIC goal to lose 30 more pounds and complete an Ironman triathlon.  For our virtual tour business, I have set a goal to increase our income by 15%.  These are the ultimate specific goals but to reach them, I need to break them down into measurable pieces.
As small business owners, there are many factors that I can’t control.  My success in reaching our income goals is dependent on other people telling me yes.  I cannot control the decisions that other people make but I CAN control the effort I put into getting in front of enough people.  My MEASURABLE goals are to contact at least one NEW major client per day, blog 3 or more times per week, create a working call list every night, set a schedule for updating our social media, contact 100 new prospects per month.  These are all things I can measure.
 We are in a growth curve where a 15% increase in our income is ATTAINABLE and REALISTIC but there will come a time when we would have to drastically change our business model to attain the goal.  To decide if our goals are REALISTIC, we must take a serious inventory of where we are now and where we want to be but also what we are wiling to do to get there.  I could set a goal of doubling our income but the fact of the matter is that we aren’t willing to work that hard and we are doing extremely well with the income for!  
One of our main priorities is to have balance in our lives and for us this means making time for date nights, exercise and races, time with friends and family and volunteering and serving at our church.  It is possible for us to attain a goal to double our income but to do so would require us to work non-stop and hire a bunch of additional staff. 
Finally, our goals are TIME SPECIFIC.  That’s the beauty of New Year’s Resolutions — they are goals you aim to achieve during this current year.  We know our ultimate goal for 2013 income but we also know what that breaks down to on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.  We can tell if we are on track for our end of year goal by checking our Profit and Loss statement and seeing if our monthly and year to date income is where it should be.
As our national virtual tour company has grown, it’s become even more important to have SMART goals.  I always say you can’t expect what you don’t inspect so this is our way of managing our expectations for Vision Quest Virtual Tours.

Vision Quest Virtual Tours is a national provider of high definition 360º virtual tours.  Specializing in healthcare virtual tours and vacation rental virtual tours, Vision Quest is headquartered in Quincy, IL and Charleston, SC.  To learn more or to schedule a virtual tour, visit