When I think of successful aestheticians who reach their goals, two words come to mind: S.M.A.R.T. and strategic.
Notice how I didn’t say “smart.”
While being smart and knowledgeable in our industry is important for being an aesthetic expert, the aestheticians who are thriving in their careers are the ones who set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Now, you may have heard of the S.M.A.R.T. Goal-Setting Method before as it’s frequently discussed in the corporate world and is a standard method across many disciplines, but just because it’s a popular idea doesn’t mean it’ll click right off the bat.
As with any methodology, it takes understanding why you’re following this method and how to put it into action with your unique situation. So, today I want to break down the five components of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting and how to break down bigger goals into achievable steps.
Let’s dive in!
The Five Components of S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting
The best part about the S.M.A.R.T. Method is that it’s easy to remember because S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Here’s how each of those elements breaks down:
S is for Specific - You want your goal to be as specific as possible.
Think of it this way, if you’re going to visit a friend who lives in New York City, you could type in “New York City” into your GPS, and it would take you there without knowing their specific address.
Specificity gives you direction. You have to know the end destination clearly before you set out on your journey to reach this goal. Otherwise, if you make a goal too vague you won’t actually know when you’ve reached it because you never explicitly defined your end destination.
Let’s use an example that may apply to you.
Maybe you’re looking to advance in your career, and you want a new, higher position at a different company.
Does this mean you want to change the field you’re in? Do you want to be in a managerial position? Do you want to make more money?
Rather than saying, “I want a new job that’s a step up from where I currently am.” A more specific goal would be, “I want to land a position as a manager at a medical spa.”
See? That second, more specific goal is much more clear on the actual accomplishment you’re trying to reach.
For extra credit, you could even name the spa that you’d like to manage.
Now on to M for Measurable - A measurable goal is one that has a numeric value you can track.
This unit of measurement could be time, money, number or products sold, a percent increase, the options are many, but having a unit of measurement is just another way for you to stay on track.
Additionally, making your goals measurable gives you a good marker for being able to end one goal and start another.
For example, your goal might be to increase product sales in your spa. But, if you’ve sold even one more product in a given time period than you did previously, technically, you increased your product sales.
However, I’m guessing you would want to increase your sales by more than one unit, which is why having a measurable aspect of your goal is important. So, instead of merely “increasing your product sales,” your goal should instead be something like, “I want to increase my product sales by 25 percent.”
Once you’ve reached or exceeded that 25 percent marker, you’ll be able to know you accomplished that goal and can either set the bar higher or move on to another S.M.A.R.T. goal you want to set for yourself.
Next up is A for Actionable - This is the part of the method that is the most time-consuming, but it’s crucial, so don’t skip or gloss over this part.
Making your goal actionable means outlining every step you need to take from start to finish to achieve your goal.
When you break down your goal into smaller line items, you’re able to take a step back from looking at your giant goal, which helps reduce the overwhelm that comes from merely thinking about that end result and wondering, “how will I get there?”
With a longer list of small steps, you can methodically move through your list tackling one thing at a time, and before you know it, you’ll have reached your goal.
Once we get through the next two steps of the S.M.A.R.T. Method, we’ll go through a complete example so you can see how this part of the method comes into play.
Next up, R for Realistic - Realism is all in the eye of the beholder. What may be realistic for you to achieve is entirely different from what someone else can accomplish.
When it comes to making your goal realistic, it’s important to keep in mind your previous experience, your know-how, and where you’re starting from.
For example, you wouldn’t set the goal to speak at your industry’s biggest convention or conference when you’ve never given a live presentation or speech before.
You might get to this point eventually, but setting a more realistic goal first, such as speaking at a local meeting for industry professionals, or speaking at a smaller, more niche conference, will allow you to achieve a goal that is more realistic. Plus, it'll help you gain the experience you need for your next-level goal of speaking at your industry’s largest conference if you want to take it that far.
The important thing to remember with this aspect of the S.M.A.R.T. Method is that making your goal “realistic” doesn’t mean limiting yourself to small goals. You can dream big and set out to accomplish significant milestones, but set those smaller goals first and work your way up.
Finally, there is T for Time-bound - Your dream needs a deadline.
If you set a goal that’s not time-bound, that’s where procrastination sets in because you don’t have an idea of when you would like your goal accomplished by. This makes it easier to put your smaller, actionable steps on hold.
Again, it’s important to keep your timeframe realistic as well. Many feats aren't achieved overnight, so make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by giving yourself enough time to realistically tackle all the steps you need to take to reach your goal while also making that timeframe tight enough that you feel compelled to work towards it continually.
Breaking Down Your Goal into Smaller Steps
Alright, now that we’ve got the S.M.A.R.T Method outlined, let’s walk through a quick example. We’ll stick with the one above about increasing product sales.
1.) Let’s get Specific - We want to increase our spa’s retail sales.
2.) How do we make that Measurable? - We want to increase our retail sales by 25 percent.
You can also make your measurement a dollar amount here or even make the goal based on your commission rate.
Saying “I want to make an additional $500 per month in product commission each month” may be a more motivating factor for you, and it still supports your specific goal of working to increase your retail sales.
3.) Alright, on to Actionable - This is where we get super detailed. Let’s say you decide that you have set your goal to increase retail sales by 25% each month.
For the sake of easy math, let’s say your average retail sales are $1,000 per month, so you want to add $250 to that to reach your goal. (I hope your retail sales are much higher than that, but if not I’ve got a very good idea what your first goal can be!)
Now let’s break it down even further. If we presume there are four weeks in the month and that you work five days a week, that means that you have to sell an additional $12.50 per working day to reach your goal.
So, how do you do that?
Are you going to call previous patients? Use social media to promote a particular product? What specific actions can you put into place on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to make sure that you reach your goal?
That is your action plan.
4.) Moving on to Realistic - Is it realistic to say we could increase product sales by 25 percent? Definitely. 50 percent or 100% might be too high to start with, but this is totally up to you.
I always say you don’t go from first to fifth when driving a manual - it’s a process, and making change is a process too.
Also, nothing says you aren’t allowed to exceed your goal.
5.) Finally, Time-bound - How much time do you realistically need to reach your goal? A month might be appropriate if your sales are on the lower side and you can make a big leap simply because you’re taking a lot of action, but if your sales are already pretty strong, but you want to take it to the next level, you might need more time.
Maybe three months. Go with the timeframe that makes the most sense for you and your business.
That’s it. That’s a S.M.A.R.T. goal in action!
See how well-thought out it is? This will make your goal so much easier to reach because you have a plan to do it.
The extra bonus of the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting method is that you’ll realize that this practice isn’t limited to setting professional goals, it’s also an excellent template for setting personal goals.
The thing to keep in mind is that no big, lofty goal is achieved overnight, but by using the S.M.A.R.T. method to give yourself a roadmap and breaking down your big goal into smaller, more action-packed mini goals, you can consistently keep your momentum going forward and maintain a positive outlook.
Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Now go on, get dreaming and start goal setting, the S.M.A.R.T. way!