When you have a short-term goal (less than 2 weeks), a great tool to use in helping you determine what you need to do to accomplish it is the AIM SMART tool.
A = Absolute minimum. What is the Absolute minimum baby step you can take, the one thing that, if you accomplished it in the next 1-14 days, would give you progress toward accomplishing your goal?
I = Ideal. What are the Ideal, knock it out of the park, I’m a rock star steps you can take, everything you can think of and more that, if you accomplished it in the next 1-14 days, would give you progress toward accomplishing your goal?
M = Middle. OK, those are two extremes, so really, what’s the Middle? What are the steps you think you can actually accomplish in the next 1-14 days that would give you progress toward accomplishing your goal?
Then once you have the steps you want to accomplish in the next few days from the AIM tool, you can make them actionable using the SMART tool.
S = Specific. What is it, specifically, that you are going to accomplish? This may be a duplicate of M, and sometimes you need to refine M just a bit. The goal must be stated in a way that is clear and easily understood.
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
- Who is involved?
- Identify a location.
- Identify requirements and constraints.
M = Measureable. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “what cannot be measured does not exist.” Having clear ways to measure your progress to accomplishing the goal you’ve set allows you to easily see if you’re on track or need a course correction. And, more fun, it lets you put a check mark beside or draw a line through the item once you’ve completed it!
- How will you know you’ve been successful?
- What does successful look like?
- How will you know when you’re done?
- How are you going to measure your progress to accomplishing the goal you’ve set?
A = Achievable. How realistic is it that you can actually achieve this goal? Stretch goals are great, unattainable goals only set you up for failure, goals too easily attained are meaningless.
- Can this goal be achieved in the time-frame determined?
- How can this goal be accomplished?
R = Relevant. Is this goal relevant and aligned to your dream/vision? If you need the buy-in or support of someone else in achieving your dream, being able to show the relevance of this goal can go a long way in receiving the support you need. By having relevant goals, you and those participating in the goals have purpose and are more likely to continue progress when obstacles occur.
- Does this goal seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match our other efforts/needs?
- Are you the right person to accomplish the goal?
T = Timely. By having a deadline you create a framework that enables progress to be measured, course corrections to be made, and accomplishments to be celebrated. It is so easy to allow the daily fires or minutia to take up our time and before we realize it, we have missed the opportunity. Setting a deadline gives a sense urgency.
- When is the deadline?
- What can I do in the next two weeks?
- What can I do today?
By implementing the AIM SMART tool you can more easily have intentional steps toward the achievement of your dreams. They aren’t just “great ideas” that you’ll accomplish “someday.” They are actionable steps you can make progress on each day. And before you know it, your goal has been reached!