As we enter the summer months, odds are that most of us have broken our New Year’s resolutions. According to a study by Reuters, most people do not stick to their New Year’s goals. Whether it be to get more organized, grow enrollment rates or declutter the supply closet, there is a good chance that things became busy and other items took priority.
Think ahead to December... Do you want to look back at 2018 and think “I should have done this” or “I wish I would have done that?" No!
The great news is you don’t have to wait until 2019 to improve your business! You can start setting and ACHIEVING goals today! Using the SMART strategy, you are more likely to meet the goals you have set for yourself and your business!
What is SMART?
It’s a goal-setting strategy that will turn your vague plans to actionable items and help you accomplish much more than the original vague plan would!
For example, my New Year’s resolution was to be a better runner and I used the SMART method, below you can see how it helped me achieve my goal!
It is very rare that a goal worth doing will be quick and easy. Often, the goals we set take weeks or even months and may involve other people or factors. That is why being specific in the planning stages can help you achieve your goals! When setting goals, be sure to include:
- Who is involved?
- What am I trying to accomplish?
- Where will this take place?
- Why is this important to me?
- Which items will be the most difficult?
In my example, to make an actionable plan, I needed to be specific. First, I needed to know if I would be running alone or with a partner, how far I’d like to run, where I could run, why I wanted to run and what obstacles I would face.
To make my goal specific, I said I would like to be able to run two miles. Some things that I needed to work out were (1)I liked to run with a buddy and (2)I could only run after work. I knew that I could run in my neighborhood and I would probably have difficulty if the weather was bad. I also knew I would like to accomplish this goal by April, so I wouldn’t have to run in the Texas heat. With my who, what and where done, I just had to remember that this goal was really important because I wanted to be healthier.
It’s easy to set general goals, but much harder to achieve them. When someone says “I want to grow enrollments,” there is, to end point, no way to measure success.
By setting goals that are measurable, you can track progress and know when you have succeeded!
- Can you track the progress and measure the outcome?
- How much, how many, how will I know I have accomplished my goal?
I have started trying to run many times throughout my life, but, before I started using the SMART method, I never set a measurable goal. This time, I set a goal to run two miles and worked to reach that goal. Once I did, I knew I had achieved what I set out to do and could start on a new goal (three miles!)
As big as our ambitions may be, sometimes it pays to be realistic. We may want to have 30 new children enrolled by next week, but there is a good chance that would take at least a few weeks. When making a goal, it is important to think realistically and make sure that the results you want are attainable.
- Is the goal reasonable enough to be accomplished?
- Are my expectations within reach?
As I have already mentioned, I have never been a runner. I could barely run a full lap around the track! So I knew I probably shouldn’t start out running a marathon. It's important to set achievable goals, because if you set an unrealistic goal, it can be very easy to get discouraged and quit if you do not meet it.
Let’s say you set a yearly goal to increase yearly enrollments by 10 percent. If you already committed to this goal, would it make sense to start focusing a majority of your time on retention rates? It's important that any sub-tasks stay relevant to your long-term goals. It's important to ask yourself:
- Is the goal consistent with other goals that you have set?
- Is the goal beneficial to your long-term plans?
During Month Two of my training, my husband asked if I’d like to start swimming laps with him. I thought back to my goal and decided I would love to…in 3 months. It's important to remain focused on your goal and to be wary of distractions!
This pairs well with the achievable factor. Don’t give yourself two weeks to completely revamp your entire business structure! Be mindful of possible time constraints and scheduling conflicts that may arise.
- Does this task have a set due date?
- Will you realistically be able to accomplish this task within the set time?
I knew that I wouldn’t become a runner overnight and that it would probably take a while before I was even able to run half a mile! It is important to give yourself enough time to accomplish your goal, but not so much time that you can’t be held accountable.
I hope the SMART strategy can work for you like it did for me! It can be so easy to become overwhelmed with tasks or lose track of long term goals. Don’t let 2018 turn into another year that could have been great – make it great! Using the Smart method can go a long way in helping you achieve your goals. And so can ChildcareCRM! Visit our website to find out how we can help you organize your tasks and increase enrollment!