Achieving work-life balance means knowing what makes us content, both in work and outside of it. Letting your employees bring their personal goals into the workplace will create a strong working culture, with a happy team. 

The secret is having everybody use the same structure for managing their goals, so they can be aligned with the working environment. 

S-M-A-R-T

Should everybody work with a plan that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-defined? 

Yes. 

Should all that apply to their goals?

Not quite. 

These words should be spread across a plan. We are better served if we think of SMART strategy for achieving goals, and let goals be what they are: aspirations.

Goals

What are goals, anyway?

Goals are aspirations. A good goal is something that you can not DO but that you can ACHIEVE. Once you have achieved it, you know instantaneously because it is clearly defined (specific). 

When thinking of your goals, try to paint your picture of success: if you were living your ideal life now, what would that look like. As you determine everything you want in that life, ask yourself also how much of it you want. 

For example, I want nature in my life, hiking is my happy place and I do some of my best thinking on solitary trails. But I want to live my everyday life in a city environment. My ideal life includes access to nature and trails, not immersion. 

Targets

If your goals are aspirations, a vision of success that is a way out from where you are now, consider milestone targets for achieving that success. 

A target is a stepping stone required to go from where you are now, to where you want to be. Think of your targets as your plan. The plan that tells you you will be successful. 

This plan must be realistic (achievable), and you have to be able to track your progress towards your goal (measurable). 

Take different parts of your overall life goal and work backward: to achieve X, I must first have reached Y, and to reach Y, I must first have access to Z, and so on and so forth. Build a list of realistic milestones and don’t try to do it all at once. 

You implement your plan through your … 

Actions

Now work back from your targets. Start with the first milestone you must achieve. What are the day to day actions you can take that will bring you to that milestone? 

These actions have to be intentional (relevant) about moving you from where you are now to getting to that first target. The best way to achieve longterm goals is to think in terms of habits: what actions must you take that will affect your habits going forward, so you remain on track for success? 

The next part is to keep yourself accountable. Start the new habit today, not tomorrow or the day after. And remind yourself day after day, even if you struggle with consistency at first. It is never too late to start over

It may not matter when you achieve your final goal: this year, next year, in five years or ten. What does matter is how you continue to implement the actions that will bring you there, to achieve each milestone in turn. 

Time-defined actions are less about deadlines and more about the consistency of behavior. Today is always the day to improve. 


Guide your team through their SMART plan and make it connect to the value they bring to you at work. Contact me for a team-wide workshop