New Year’s resolutions and goals are all the rage. We have parties and meetings, discussion, blogs, posts, lectures, I could go on and on.
And believe me, I am someone who puts a lot of effort and faith into goal setting and visions, but I don’t think people really understand them or use them to their full potential.
First off, what is a goal? It is an aim, a purpose of action, undertaking a belief. Goals are dream and an intention you set for yourself. They propel us into the life we want and the person we want to be. But if you don’t know how to create a goal that sets yourself up for success, chances are you won’t be propelled into that life you long for.
So how do you set a goal? It must be SMART. Not in the sense of being intellectual, no SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, Timely. Creating your goals around this acronym should be the first step to any goal setting.
Specific – be as detailed and to the point as you possibly can when creating a goal. I will be in shape by the end of the year. Does that sound specific? Not really. It should read more like, I will lose 20 lbs and will run my first 5K race by December of 2012. Much better.
Measurable – this allows you to see the criteria necessary for you to reach your goal. I’ll refer back to I will be in shape by the end of the year. Well, what does in shape even mean? It’s a very ambiguous term thrown around the fitness realm. If you don’t know the meaning to what it is you’re going to attain how to you suppose you’re going to get there? Hint, you won’t. Define what it is you want, I will lose 20 lbs, this is measurable. And I will run my first 5K, again measurable. You can physically and mathematically calculate these two objectives.
Attainable – when you specifically determine what it is you want to achieve, you find the means necessary to achieve them. Setting goals that are within your reach, or slightly outside, you’re more likely to commit to than those that do not seem attainable. The goal needs to push you outside your comfort zone and stretch you, but not cause you to give up because of the feeling of failure. The feeling of success keeps you motivated to continue to achieve your goals.
Realistic – this is where some people struggle sometimes. They either set their goals to low or they set themselves up for failure by not being honest or setting realistic goals. I’m going to run my first ever marathon in 1 month. Sound realistic? I’m going to be the CEO of this multi-trillion dollar company. Great goal to set, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this goal, but are you setting yourself up for a let down? If you want to be CEO, awesome! Make that your goal, however, break it down into smaller SMART goal. Be honest with yourself while still aiming for the stars.
I am CEO of the multi-trillion dollar company by the time I am 35 and have gained the knowledge and experience necessary to be successful. (I’ll come back to this goal…)
Timely – set a by-when. By when are you going to run your first 5K race? By when have you lost the baby weight? By when are you manager of the business? If you don’t put a by when to your goals they’ll just float off to nonexistence never to be completed. And be sure to give yourself the proper amount of time necessary to complete your goal. Do you need 6 months to be able to run your first 5K or do you realistically need 8? Can you do it in 5 months? Can you lose 20 lbs in a month? Not very realistic and not timely enough for your success.
Now, let me go back to the goal I am CEO of the multi-trillion dollar company by the time I am 35 and have gained the knowledge and experience necessary to be successful. This in and of itself is a goal, but it’s a pretty big one and seems so far away right? The secret to making these big far off goals go from big and far off are to break them down into smaller SMART goals.
What are you going to do to be CEO?
- I finish high school with a 4.0 so that I can be admitted into the college of my choosing.
- I go to the University of Iowa majoring in business management graduating in the top of my class
- I am an intern for the company I plan to be CEO of
- I am hired on as part of the management team after completing my internship
- After 3 years I am promoted to head manager
And so on and so forth. Detailed and specific, measurable, attainable, timely.
You could even go further and break these small goals into smaller goal. Write out specifically what it is you need to do to become the intern and the things you are going to achieve to become part of the management team.
Another great tip for making your goals a reality is by not being stingy with them. Share them, put them out into the universe and thus making you more accountable to them. Write them down in pen, post them where you can see them every day, and share them with those who you can trust.
Here are my goals that I’ve been working on since this summer.
Happy Holidays! Tell me about you (And your goals!).
Be gentle. Be kind. Be loving to you.