First off, let me say this...
GOAL-SETTING should NOT be left exclusively til December.
Yes, people get pumped just before a brand new year begins, but if you want to achieve real success, you should be setting goals all year round.
Research suggests that the high-achievers amongst us are pursuing anywhere up to 10 goals at any one time.
Don't be overwhelmed at the thought of that.
Setting your goals the S.M.A.R.T way, not only makes them manageable, but also VERY achievable.
In this post, I’d like to explore what S.M.A.R.T goals are - and how you can utilise them BOTH inside and outside of your acting career.
What Are S.M.A.R.T Goals Then?
Goal-setting the S.M.A.R.T way brings structure and track-ability to your objectives.
The S.M.A.R.T acronym has been around for decades.
Its first usage dates back as far as 1981, and yet I see so few actors using it to get laser-focused on what they want from life.
The S.M.A.R.T acronym stands for:
S - SPECIFIC
M - MEASURABLE
A - ACHIEVABLE
R - RELEVANT
T - TIME-BOUND
Let's take a look at each letter in a bit more detail.
When setting goals, most people fall down at this first hurdle - they simply don't get SPECIFIC enough.
Ask yourself the following:
- What exactly do I want to achieve?
- With whom?
Bad: "Become a better actor."
Good: "Develop more confidence as an actor by completing the Bulletproof Actor program."
The more SPECIFIC you can make your goal, the more clarity you gain on what you're actually aiming for.
The more clarity you have, the easier you'll find the pursuit.
One of the major keys to hitting goals is consistent progress tracking.
But... how can you track your progress, if your goal isn't MEASURABLE?
Bad: "Earn more money"
Good: "Earn £5000 more than I did last year."
If you set a goal that is measurable, you can break the whole down into manageable chunks.
This is particularly useful when setting goals around finance and physicality.
There is zero point in setting a goal to "lose weight" - I mean, what does that even mean?
How much weight would you like to lose?
Defining the EXACT physical manifestations of your goal or objective makes it clearer, and easier to reach.
Now, I'm NEVER going to tell you to be realistic, but you must still consider how ATTAINABLE your current goals are.
If you don't have the time, experience, or money to hit a certain goal right now, you'll probably fail and be miserable.
Your goals must be challenging, but not delusional.
This doesn't mean you can't aim to make the seemingly impossible, possible - but you're going to need to go about things in a sensible order.
Bad: "Win an Oscar." (With zero acting experience.)
Good: "Land my first speaking part in a TV show."
One of my ultimate goals is to have my own TV chat show, but the likelihood of a network simply giving me a chat show, with no proven record, is highly unlikely.
A better interim goal was thus to create my own proof of concept - which is EXACTLY what I have done here on Act On This.
I now have a broadcast-quality chat show to use as currency towards my bigger goal.
Your goals must also be RELEVANT - and appropriate to the season of your life.
We all go through different seasons in our life and career, and we are often in very different seasons across the various areas that make up our lives and careers - all at the same time.
If you are in the spring of your acting career, a time of new beginnings - that’s a VERY different season than the summer of your acting career - where things are growing, and your career is exploding.
Equally, these are both different times, compared to the autumn of your career - where you might be getting ready to sit back and relax for a while, having reaped the rewards of a busy summer.
If things have slowed down too much and have been looking a bit bleak, you may have been living in the winter of your acting career - that’s a time to reflect and get ready for the coming spring.
The seasons of your life don’t follow the seasons of the actual year, or your age, and you may be in a different season in one area of your life, compared to another.
Your goals need to reflect these seasons.
Bad: "I'll wake at 6:00AM and spend the first hour of my day writing to casting directors." (But you've just had your first baby, who wakes at 5:30AM.)
Good: "I'll spend an hour of my day writing to casting directors - whilst my wife takes my son to playgroup."
DO NOT COMPARE the season you are in, to the season someone else is in!
You MUST set a specific deadline for each goal.
If you don’t have a deadline then there is no urgency to start taking action.
When your goals are TIME-BOUND, the likelihood of your achieving them literally DOUBLES!
Bad: "I want to lose twenty pounds."
Good: "I will lose twenty pounds by December 31st."
Make sure your deadlines don’t all fall in the same month.
Set some 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month goals.
Your PUSH Goal
Once you’ve set your goals, I’d like you to look for what’s known as your ‘Push Goal’ - the one goal, that if done first, would make all the others easier.
Your ‘Push Goal’ acts like a domino for all the others. Which goal will be the catalyst to help you accomplish your entire list or most of it?
If your goals are challenging enough, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to achieve them in one or two actionable steps - but don’t let this put you off.
You need to break your goals down into as many small, actionable steps as possible.
If you can’t see all steps in the journey, don’t panic - you only need to know the NEXT STEP.
Imagine you are on a pitch black staircase.
The stair you are on will light up, just enough for you to see the next, then the next, then the next.
The first step to accomplishing your goal, may be something as simple as making a phone call, or sending an email.
The trick is to simply START!
Figure out that first step and gain some momentum.
The next step will become obvious, don’t worry.
I use the Evernote app to track my goals.
It’s a productivity app, available for your desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
You can use any app you like, but make sure you carry your goals around with you, even if it’s in a hand-written journal.
You’ll want to make notes on your next actionable steps, alongside other developments on your journey.
The more frequently you check-in with yourself and your goals, the more chance you have of hitting them.
Most people only check-in with themselves once a year - usually on New Year’s Eve.
They fail. Simple.
If you check in once a month, you have 12 times more chance of success.
Once a week - 52 times more chance of success.
Once a day - 352 times more chance of success.
Start Designing THE LIFE YOU WANT RIGHT NOW!
I could write an entire book on goal-setting, and no doubt will do some day, but until then, this information should be enough for you to start designing the life you both want and deserve.
Go for a walk, listen to some of your favourite music and get INSPIRED.
Think of what you would really like the next 12 months to look like, and then write down 10 goals, using the S.M.A.R.T acronym.
These goals should encompass all areas of your life.
Figure out your first actionable step on each - and GO FOR IT!
I’d love to hear about your goals, so do tweet me and let me know what you are looking to achieve.
If you are looking for accountability, to make sure you are kept on track, come and join the Act On This Facebook group too - request access at www.facebook.com/groups/ActOnThisTV NOW!