Professional goal setting is critical when it comes to establishing, managing, and maintain your online business or offline ventures. Goals are an essential part of your business and your personal life. Professional goal setting is comprised of two critical parts:

1. Creation of a long-term goal.

2. Development of action plans or milestones to achieve the goals.

Unfortunately, many people only focus on the first step. They have an end goal in mind, but they don’t have a clear plan for how to accomplish that goal. Without action plans and milestones, goals have little purpose and are often abandoned before the journey even begins.

Professional goal setting and creating milestones requires the completion of multiple components. There is a smart way to remember how to create the steps that lead to success. In the world of business, the acronym “SMART” is a good way to remember how to create milestones:

· Specific

· Measurable

· Achievable

· Related

· Time-sensitive

Unless you have actions associated with each component of your goal, it will be difficult or impossible to reach your destination.

Specific. Create specific milestones. Be very clear about what you want to accomplish. Intead of a goal that says, “conduct niche market research”, your goal should be, “conduct niche market research and determine the top 10 potential niche products by April 10. This is a very specific milestone and will help you achieve your goals.

Measurable. Having actions and milestones that are measurable makes it easy to evaluate progress and identify problems. You can easily determine if you have listed your top 10 potential niches by April 10!

Achievable. Milestones and goals must be achievable. This does not mean they cannot be challenging. Quite the contrary. Make sure they are challenging yet achievable. For example, if you set a milestone to research, evaluate, and list 10 potential niche product ideas by tomorrow morning, is that possible? Do you have the time and resources to do this? Are you setting yourself up for failure? Think realistically about what is achievable and then stick to your action steps!

Related. Many people set goals and then create milestones that may have no relevancy. As hard as this is to believe, it happens. The milestones that get you to your goals should be relevant to the accomplishment of the goal. Identifying potential niche products, determining a single niche product for focus, finding content specific to the niche, creating an interactive website to communicate the niche, and other related actions are all important.

Time-sensitive. Professional goal setting and creation of milestones must include time-sensitive parameters. Start by creating a time to reach your goal. If your desire to is to have your online niche business operational and productive by June 1, then your milestones should be created with that in mind. Create milestones with time-sensitive dates to help you accomplish your goals. For example, conduct niche research by March 15, choose the top niche product by March 20, identify all sources for niche related articles and content by April 15, and so forth until you have a plan that has you racing towards your goal.

Professional goal setting is a process that requires planning, focus, and commitment. Goals without actions are useless. But professional goal setting that includes all of the components of the SMART process will get you there on schedule and successfully.

Get started today by creating your long-term goal and creating the steps to help you achieve your dream. You’re only steps away from success.