You are running a (hopefully) successful travel practice. It cannot be done with out goals—right? Promising yourself that you’ll do something is easy; actually doing it can be a lot harder. Most of us tend to have multiple consecutive goals—I want to be wealthy, lose weight, eat healthier, travel more, succeed in business, etc.
While those are all great things to work towards, they are not really very well defined, they are more of an ambition: a statement of intent rather than a concrete objective.
Goals need focus and context, and this is the struggle. Enter the SMART system.
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Boxed. You apply the SMART criteria to any goal you wish to achieve, and if it does not meet the five characteristics, you modify the goal until it does!
Chances of success are very slim when you make a goal too general. There is no point just saying you want to run faster. You need to make it more concrete, i.e. “I want to be able to book ten more cruises in the 2nd quarter than I did last year,” is much more defined and can put you on your way to success.
Quite simply, you will never know if you have succeeded if you cannot measure it. Making a goal measurable is directly related to making it specific. The more specific your objective, the easier it is to measure. If you cannot measure it… make it more specific. Use milestones. Ten more cruises in the 2nd quarter is one more cruise a week (with some cushioning)—set your goal for one per week. As you see yourself hitting your milestones, it will be a psychological boost.
My definition of “frustration” is having my passion beyond my control. The same goes for goals. I think I can safely say that we all want to be billionaires. The reality is that few (if any) of us will achieve that milestone. Make sure you set your goals so they are actually achievable. Using our cruise example: if you sold 100 cabins last year, it is unlikely that you can sell 1,000 this year. However, with some planning and effective marketing, you probably can sell another 100 this year. It might be a tough goal for you, or a simple one, but it is achievable. The unachievable goals will only tend to bring you down.
I have said it before, if you do not love the industry—get out. If you are not passionate about your goals, they have very little relevancy. I could never sell widgets, I am just not into them. And while I might do OK here and there, my heart is not in it and long terms success seems to be a pipe dream. Don’t waste your time; make sure your goal is important to you.
We all do our best work with a well-defined road map. Make sure that your goals are timed. Make sure that your milestones are timed as well. As you reach them, you have the sense of satisfaction of a job well done. Specific dates keep us on track and prevents us from moving onto a not-quite-so-pressing task (I’m talking to you, Facebook). Time-Box your goals and you will remain motivated.
Finally, remember that you can never set your goals without consideration of your environment. Dave Holman (Travel Agent Diaries) is a convenient example for me. If you read his stories, you know how he wants to grow his host agency—he was positioned to do so; but family issues intervened and it was scaled back for now. There is life outside of work and you need to find that balance so one does not succeed to the detriment of the other.
I have used SMART in my personal and professional lives. I do find that I am more productive and a lot happier when I am achieving my goals—GO ME! It seems like I am accomplishing more every day because I have taken my larger goals and honed them down into bite-sized pieces. Give it a shot! You have nothing to lose!