Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as "To reduce expenses" how will you know when you have been successful? In one month's time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years' time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.
Achieving complex and difficult goals requires focus, long-term diligence and effort (see Goal pursuit). Success in any field requires forgoing excuses and justifications for poor performance or lack of adequate planning; in short, success requires emotional maturity. The measure of belief that people have in their ability to achieve a personal goal also affects that achievement.
Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender, whose blog is a friendly place to discuss workplace issues. HR Bartender has been recognized as one of the Top 5 Blogs Read by HR professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). When she's not tending bar, Sharlyn is president of ITM Group, Inc., which specializes in training solutions to help clients retain and engage talent. For the Saba blog, Sharlyn writes about HR trends and best practices that impact employee engagement and performance. She is the author of "Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success" and "The Recruiter's Handbook: A Complete Guide for Sourcing, Selecting, and Engaging the Best Talent", which are available on Amazon. Her personal goal in life is to find the best cheeseburger on the planet.
Some coaches recommend establishing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bounded (SMART) objectives, but not all researchers agree that these SMART criteria are necessary. The SMART framework does not include goal difficulty as a criterion; in the goal-setting theory of Locke and Latham, it is recommended to choose goals within the 90th percentile of difficulty, based on the average prior performance of those that have performed the task.