He who fails to plan is planning to fail-Winston Churchill
Many have said that if you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there. When you have a goal in mind, the first step in creating the path to reach that goal is to create a very clear picture of the goal in your mind. AIM SMART is the perfect tool to make sure your goal has clarity-and that you have a realistic chance of you reaching it.
So…how do you AIM SMART toward your goal?
My guess is you have heard of SMART goals, right? If not, let me give you a quick lesson, with one change that I learned while attending the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching. When setting goals the “iPEC way,” we take AIM to reach our SMART goals.
(On a side note, when setting goals you always want to set your goal from a mastery orientation as opposed to a performance orientation. You can read more about that in an upcoming blog. Briefly, a mastery orientation asks, “are you developing to be the best you can be?” A performance orientation asks, “how did you do compared to others?”)
For illustration, let’s say you have the Mastery Goal of “getting healthier.”
The AIM SMART process helps you determine the “right” strategic goals for you (AIM) and then gives you the process to achieve each of the strategic goals (SMART).
A-Acceptable Minimum: For any goal you are trying to reach, it is important to consider what is acceptable-what is the minimum you need to do to start moving forward. What is the LEAST that you are willing to do? For getting healthier, the least you could do to make the change you want might be might be going to the gym once a week.
I-Ideal: What is POSSIBLE? What would it look like for you to knock it out of the park? If your goal is getting healthier and you go on a strict diet, go to the gym twice a day, and it all stops in a month? While it was possible and you thought it was ideal, the goal was, in fact, not the “ideal” for you because you could not carry it out for very long.
M-Middle: To take “AIM” at your goal, you will always keep the Acceptable and Ideal in mind, but also focus on the most important factor-the Middle. The Middle is not Ideal and not Acceptable but is somewhere in between and what is right for you today. For you to get healthier, the right step for you today might be going to the gym 3 times a week.
It is important to review this process weekly and make adjustments as needed.
So, now that you have “taken AIM” and have the strategic goal set, what is the process to make the solid action plan? The SMART goal process helps you see the first step to achieve your AIM goal for that week.
S-Specific: What is THE very first step of the action plan? This first step is your mini-goal. If your goal is to get healthier, and you AIM strategic goal was to go to the gym 3 times a week, what are possible mini goals? Maybe looking for a gym close to you or joining a gym or buying workout clothes.
M-Measurable: You need to make sure that your “Specific” step can be quantified or qualified. In other words, how do you know if you have reached your mini-goal? If your mini-goal is join a gym, when you actually sign up for the membership, then you have achieved your mini-goal.
A-Achievable: Is the mini-goal (first step) possible for you to achieve? This is a simple yes or no answer. Either yes, you can join a gym or no, you can’t. If the answer is no, you will need to start the process over with a smaller mini-goal that is achievable.
R-Reasonable: How reasonable is it that you actually can do what you are saying you will do at this time? If it is not reasonable for you to join a gym this week (maybe you will be out of town or waiting on your paycheck) then you will start the SMART process over again with a newly identified first step.
T-Time Oriented: To complete the AIM SMART process, you will need an exact deadline for completing the mini-goal (not the strategic goal). To get healthier, you time oriented goal might be to visit 3 gyms in the next week and complete membership by Friday.
Your MASTERY GOAL is to get healthier.
Your AIM Strategic Goal is to work out 2 times a week.
Your mini-goal is to visit 3 gyms and become a member of one of them by Friday.
The secret sauce? Identifying a person to hold you accountable. If you are struggling to identify your mastery goal or are in need of someone to hold you accountable, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! We can work together to design a custom coaching package to help you take AIM and reach your goals!