It is the beginning of a new year and I am sure like most people out there, you have set some goals or resolutions for 2013. If you are like me, you have set resolutions each year and either don’t accomplish them or are not aware (and thus miss the opportunity to celebrate) if you did. I have given quite some thought and done some research on goal setting and how to be successful at it. I have realized that I have had failed resolutions, not because I am a failure or cannot stick to goals, but because I wasn’t creating SMART goals and I wasn’t putting serious thought into how I would know I had achieved my goals. I would say things like “I want to lose weight this year” or “I want to eat healthier” without being specific about what “losing weight” meant to me (i.e. the amount of pounds, the size pants I wanted to wear, etc). I also didn’t consider my why, which is the part that will propel you through tough times and keep you working toward your specific goals. So this year, I have decided to complete Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Push Challenge as well as spend some time really thinking about my goals for 2013. Here is some advice I’ve learned that I find helpful.
Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.
A specific goal has a much greater chance of being reached than a general goal.
A general goal would be to “get in shape,” while a specific goal would be “to complete p90x and lose 25 pounds by April 2013”
You will know when you have reached a specific goal because your success can be measured. Make sure you create concrete criteria for measuring your progress, which will help you stay on track and reach your target dates.
When creating a measurable goal, ask yourself:
- How much? Or how many?
- How will I know when this goal is realized?
As you set your goals, be realistic while still challenging yourself. Create steps to achieving your goals and determine if you possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to reach them. Your attitudes, abilities, and skills are highly adaptable, so if you decide you don’t have the required knowledge or skills, go get them! There is so much information out there, seek it out, find people who possess the skills you want and learn from them. As you measure the progress on your goals, achievements you thought seemed so far away become closer and attainable because you are growing and expanding to match them.
A goal must represent something you are both willing and able to work toward. You should consider things that really mean something to you and create goals that will be relevant to the priorities in your life. Ask yourself what the reason, purpose, or benefit of accomplishing the goal and what will be the result of the goal.
Goals must also represent substantial progress, so aim high! You must truly believe that it can be accomplished. Consider things you have accomplished in the past that are similar to the goals you are setting and ask yourself what conditions need to exist to accomplish this goal.
Without a time frame tied to your goals, you will not experience a sense of urgency. If you set goals at the beginning of the year and do not set a time frame in which you will achieve your goals, you may find yourself procrastinating and thinking, “I’ve got 12 more months!” When you set dates that you want to achieve goals by, you set things into motion and begin working toward that deadline.
When thinking about your goals, answer the 6 W questions:
- Who is involved?
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Where will these goals be worked toward and achieved?
- When will these goals be completed?
- Which requirements and constraints will I face?
- Why is this my goal? (Give specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.)
In her 30 Day Push Challenge, Chalene Johnson recommends the following when considering your goals:
- Dream BIG!
- Don’t set goals that you know will happen. Instead think about things you would achieve in perfect conditions, if everything aligned just right in the next year.
- Set tough goals and challenge yourself
- Don’t give yourself goals for things you have no control over. For example, don’t come up with goals you would like to see happen for your partner or children
- Consider all aspects of your life, including financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, personal relationship, etc goals.
Write down your top 10 goals. The goals you think, “Wow! This would be so awesome if this happened!” One week later, without referencing the list from the week before, write your top 10 goals for the year. Repeat each week. When you do not look at the previous list, you write goals that are on your brain that day and over time you can see things that stay on that list week after week and can identify things that are the most important to you.
Lastly, if you are a visual person, making a dream board can be really helpful in creating something where you can see your goals. Create one with photos and quotes from magazines and stick them on a cork board or poster. You can also create one with the link below. Print it out and hang it somewhere you will see it everyday as a reminder of your dreams and goals.
Creating goals should be fun and exciting! Reaching goals feels incredible. Celebrate your achievements of the small steps as well as the larger goals and recognize the hard work you have put in.
As always, feel free to email me with questions or guidance at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂