If you struggle to know how to set goals, this step by step guide will help you achieve your goals. If dream of conquering your goals, but not quite sure how to go about it, I can show you a few simple tips that you can do to make our goals happen. (Yes it involves hard work!) In this article I will outline what I consider to be the most important steps to achieving you goals, you can also sign up for your free goal setting workbook.
Set your Goal
You may have noticed that some people coast through life quite happily whilst others seem to have more of a ‘go getter’ attitude. The latter are those who have the ability to set goals. Not always will they achieve them, but they are almost always chasing their next dream. For some of us, this is a challenge. How do we set our goals? Firstly, you need to ask yourself “What is important to you at this point in time in your life?”.
Some people like to ‘categorise’ their life, in order to set clear goals. Such categories might be ‘work’ ‘family’ ‘relationships’ ‘physical’ ‘mental’ etc. This may help you to assess what parts of your life you are really happy with, what parts of your life you want more out of, and what you are passionate about right now. One of the most common and successful ways to create goals is to use the ‘SMART’ goals system.
I have created a free Goal Setting Workbook Just for you! To access our FREE resource library, click the guide below!
Having a specific, rather than a ‘generalised’ goal will give you focus on what exactly you want to achieve. Generalised goals tend to be more ‘illusive’, making them less likely to be achieved. When you create concrete goals, you know exactly what your working towards, and are therefore more likely to be successful. Specific goals consider the ‘who’ ‘what’ ‘when’ ‘where’ ‘why’ and ‘how’.
An example of a ‘generalised goal’ is “I want to be a good runner”. A specific goal would be more like “I want to race at least one competitive running race each month this year”.
Measurement = Motivation. The outcome of the goal itself will determine the type of measurement you use. For example, if you want to become a faster runner, you may decide on a time based goal for a particular race distance. Having a measurement such as time will allow you to monitor your progress towards your goal, and to know when the goal has bee attained.
A goal that is unattainable will end in disappointment. A goal that is too easy becomes lacklustre. Your goal needs to be challenging, yet achievable. You need to consider how important your goal is to you, what time / resources you can dedicate to your goal and what impact it will have on other aspects of your life. Once you have taken these factors into consideration, you will have a relatively good idea if your goal is attainable. This is a time to be honest with yourself. Note that if you do find that your goal is too easy or too difficult, you can aways readjust your goals accordingly.
Your goals need to be important to YOU! Yes you will require the support of friends, family, peers etc, but ultimately you are the only person that can make your goals become a reality. So make your goals meaningful to you.
Knowing a time frame or ‘completion date’ for your goal/s will encourage accountability.
An example of a SMART goal would look something like :
“To run the 2016 gold coast half marathon in under 2 hours”
Short term and Long term goals
Major life goals are often ‘Long term goals’. For each ‘long term goal’, you should have some ‘short term goals’. Short term goals help you work towards the ‘bigger picture’. Consider them the ‘milestones’ towards achieving your long term goal. For example, if your long term goal is to run a marathon by December this year, your short term goal may be to run a half marathon by August. Another short term goal may be to complete 100% of your scheduled training sessions this week.
Short term goals allow you to monitor your progress, remain committed, and have a sense of accomplishment whilst you continue to work towards your long term goal. Overall, short term goals ensure motivation and progress towards your long term goals that may otherwise seem a world away.
Write your goals down
Record your goals, preferably in a place that you will see often. Write them on a ‘post it note’, on your mirror, inside (or outside) your work locker, on a calendar, on the back of the toilet door, or in a notebook that you refer to often. It doesn’t have to be ‘in your face’ ALL the time, but if you are reminded of your goal regularly, your motivation and commitment are likely to stay alive.
Use a workbook like this one to help you identify your SMART goal, write it down and create an action plan!
Simply sign up to get access to the SRM resource library, it’s free!
Tell people about it
You are much more likely to achieve your goal others are aware of your goals. You don’t have to go around ‘spruiking your goals’ to anyone that will (pretend to) listen. However, it is a good idea to tell the important people in your life what your goals are. Especially if you are likely to rely on them for support. More often than not, an individual that is working towards a goal will question themselves at some point. ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘Is it really worth it?’ It is in these moments that you will benefit from the support of your friends, family, colleagues etc.
Your support network will also offer practical support. It might come in the form of a friend looking after your child once an afternoon so that you are able to go for a longer than normal run, or your work colleague forwarding on a professional development opportunity that you may have not been aware of. Know your support network. Appreciate them and make sure they know that they are appreciated.
Be prepared to adjust your goals
This does not mean ‘giving up’, nor does it mean continually allowing yourself to put off hard work. What this means is recognising that we are humans, and life can sometime be unpredictable. Sometimes things happen that we were unable to foresee. It is much better to readjust your goal, rather than give up on it altogether.
If you find yourself losing passion or motivation towards your goal, you need to sit down and ask yourself some questions. Be honest with yourself. Do you need to readjust your goal. Are you finding things particularly challenging right now and need more support. Did you create a goal that wasn’t really ‘for you’ but more to please someone else? If you are honest with yourself, you will find the answer as to what you need to do. Maybe you need to allow yourself more time. Perhaps you need to find an interim short term goal to re-motivate yourself.
Research indicates that if you truly believe that you can achieve your goals, you are more likely to be successful. Self belief can be enhanced by visualising yourself achieving your goals. Take a moment to sit down and see yourself attaining your goal. Imagine what it will feel like. ‘See it’ and ‘feel it’ in detail. Not only will this give you self belief, but it also contributes to ‘mental practice’ of the task. Mental practice can help to ease your nerves, particularly if you are working towards a single performance, for example a running race. Having visualised yourself and your success will keep you just a little calmer as you face the start line.
Eliminate self doubt
If you have chosen a challenging enough goal it is almost certain that you will start to doubt yourself at some point in time. When negative thoughts come to mind, try to reverse them immediately. Remind yourself why you set this goal in the first place. To challenge yourself, and to better yourself. Reaching your goal is not meant to be easy. If it was, ‘everybody would be doing it’.
Whats your goal?
Do you have a goal in mind? If not, it may be a good idea to sit down and think about:
- Where you would like to see yourself a year from now?
- What is important to you?
- What aspects of your life are you completely happy with?
- What aspects would you like to improve?
- What are you passionate about right now?
- What is your wildest dream?
Answering these questions is likely to have a snowball effect towards creating your next goal. Want a bit of help achieving your next goal?
Sign up now and get your FREE copy of our Goal Setting Workbook designed with you in mind! You will get access to our entire FREE resource kit which has training tools, health tips and loads of workbooks for our SRM mums x