When it comes to setting goals, we are all different in the level of intensity and focus we put into it. Some will set aside a day at the beginning of each year to document and plan their goals, others tend to have a few loosely thrown together dreams in life they plod towards. For many years I have written articles and spoken publicly about the importance of setting goals, however, if I must be honest, I fall fairly close to the latter end of the continuum. Research has shown that the goal setting habits of an individual do not necessarily determine success. Those who set strict goals are no more or less successful than those who don’t. The trick is knowing what works best for you as an individual.
Regardless of whether you work best writing your goals down and sticking them to the fridge so you are reminding yourself every time you grab a snack, or just thinking about what you might want to do with your life, having a structure for setting goals ensures that you know what you want to achieve, the steps you need to take to get there, and when you have achieved your goal.
SMARTER is a well-used acronym when setting goals. Considering all parts of this structure will allow you to ensure that you are setting goals that can fit within the life you lead and allow you to plan your direction to get there. It also allows you to be excited about what you are working towards because we usually set goals to achieve something we really want, and a good goal gives a clear vision of it actually becoming reality.
So, tick off each of these when you set your goals and you will find success:
Specific: Your goals need to be unambiguous. You need to know precisely what the end point is, to be able to plan how to get there. State exactly what you are going to do so that anyone could read the goal and understand what you plan to achieve.
Measurable: Include a measure in your goal so you can track your progress, and so you know when you have reached your goal. Measures can be distance, time, weight, etc.
Attainable: Ensure your goal is humanly possible and you are not setting yourself up for failure. Also make it genetically possible – Growing a foot taller when you are in your 30s could be considered an unattainable goal.
Realistic: Consider all the other things in life that you are responsible for – Can you still realistically do what needs to be done to reach your goal while holding down a job, attending to the needs of your family, getting enough sleep, etc?
Time: Make your goal time sensitive. Give yourself a date by which you will have achieved the goal.
Empower: Give yourself permission to reach your goal, know that you are good enough and you deserve it. This once seemed like a space filler to me, but the more I see people struggle with their set goals, the more that this becomes the most important part of actually reaching the goals we set.
Review/Reward: Okay, so, two words to finish with. Things seldom go to plan. If anything interrupts your progression towards your goal, revisit the goal and make adjustments if it is no longer realistic. Then, think about how you will reward yourself when you reach your goal. You have earned it!
Keep in mind that the goal is simply the starting point of a plan. The next step is to ensure that you are following a good plan and giving yourself every opportunity to reach your goal.
Remember, what works is different for all individuals. Some write goals down, some don’t, some share goals with others, some keep them to themselves, some set goals and stick strictly to working towards their achievement, others have a dream.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or make an appointment, text/phone 021 99 00 54 or email [email protected]