It's always a great idea to set goals, and there is no better time to set them than the beginning of a New Year. The whole point of setting a goal is to actually achieve it - makes sense, right? However, according to scientific research, an astounding 92 percent of people do not achieve their goals. Say what? That’s a lot of people!
If that high number makes you feel like giving up before you even get started, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Instead, find a way that works to actually achieve your goals. Since we're huge fans of setting S.M.A.R.T goals, we highly recommend you start there when setting goals for yourself and your church.
What Is a S.M.A.R.T Goal?
S.M.A.R.T goals are successful because they are meant to help give you direction and be clear about the kinds of things you want to accomplish. These are goals that are:
The great thing about S.M.A.R.T goals is that they can be made in several different categories including: family, finances, professional, spiritual, personal, and social. They are also a great way for churches to set and achieve their goals.
Many goal-achieving experts state that the secret to success is not relying on willpower, but instead by creating new habits. According to Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do.” That was true 2,000 years ago, and it’s still true today. By setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, not only will it help you to achieve your goals, it will also serve as an effective tool for creating good habits.
How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Before we get into the specifics on how to go about setting S.M.A.R.T goals, let's look at a few reasons people don’t achieve their goals:
- Lack of discipline
- Have too many goals
- Fear of success/failure
- Not understanding the goal-setting process
Another reason people don’t achieve their goals is because they don’t have a plan in place. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals sort of forces you to come up with a plan and how that plan is going to be carried out. If you are still not sure how exactly this whole S.M.A.R.T goals thing works, let’s break it down a little further.
Your goals should be precise and you should have a very clear understanding of the desired end result. When setting specific goals, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?” Be as detailed as possible when answering this question.
When you know for a fact your goal has been accomplished, chances are it is a measurable goal. When setting measurable goals, ask yourself, “How will I be able to measure the outcome in order to know that I’ve achieved my goal?”
Setting a goal that is not attainable is a huge mistake. While it’s important to aim high, it’s also important to be realistic. When setting achievable goals, ask yourself, “Do I have the ability to make this happen?” You may also want to think about what types of barriers could prevent you from achieving your goal.
By not committing to your goal and by not making it a priority, you are setting yourself up to fail. Your goals should not only be important to you, they should be motivating. When setting relevant goals, ask yourself, “What do I need to neglect intentionally or be released from in order to focus on this?”
In order to complete your goal, it should have a specific time frame. This could mean you want to achieve your goal in a set number of days, weeks, or months. When setting time-bound goals, ask yourself, “When will I reach this goal?” It’s also a good idea to know when you will start working on the goal.
Examples of Setting and Achieving S.M.A.R.T Goals
Like we said earlier, S.M.A.R.T. goals work well for setting both personal goals and goals for the church. Here are some examples of S.M.A.R.T. goals that can be used by churches. Notice that these goals are all Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Goal: We want to increase giving dollars.
- SMART Goal: We want to increase giving dollars by 10% by March.
How to get there:
- Switch to online giving. Fewer and fewer people are carrying cash nowadays. Make it easier on your congregation by offering online giving.
- Be more transparent about your church's needs. Church-goers are more likely to give if they know what they are giving money for.
Goal: We want to get new followers.
- SMART Goal: We want to baptize 100 people by July 31.
How to get there:
- Attract more people through your website. Make sure your church is easily accessible online and your website reflects the goals and values of your church.
- Participate in community events. By becoming more involved in your community, you can introduce yourself to a larger audience.
- Make your website informative and easy to navigate. Ensure dates and times of services are easy to find. Tell prospective church-goers what you believe and what to expect at a service. Make it easy for visitors to get plugged into your church.
Goal: We want to increase the amount of money in our building fund.
- SMART Goal: We want to double the amount of money in our building fund by the end of the year.
How to get there:
- Start a campaign. Campaigns are a way to get your followers excited about an effort or mission.
- Create a calendar. Communicate to your followers the start and end dates of the campaign. Set dates to keep your campaign on track and update your congregation along the way.
- Communicate your mission. Be transparent about what this money is going towards and how it can help your church.
Goal: We want to give our members more chances to participate in small group studies.
- SMART Goal: We want to hold four different small group studies two times a year.
How to get there:
- Make it easy to sign up online. Make information about your small groups and sign up forms easily accessible on your website.
- Get the word out. Advertise small group studies in the bulletin, on social media, and your website.
Once your church has set its goals, be sure to write out how exactly you plan to achieve these goals. If you want to increase giving dollars by 10% by March, simply build a plan to do X, Y, and Z.
Now that you have a better understanding of S.M.A.R.T. goals, it’s time to get together with your church leadership or planning team and plan them out. You can even do this at home with your personal goals. After all, the Bible admonishes us to, “count the cost of building the tower” (Luke 14:28) so why not start setting S.M.A.R.T goals today!
Many church communicators make and achieve their goals. We share their unique stories on a free series: Real Success Stories—From Real Church Communicators. Check them out, and be inspired!