Goals. They can be seen to be important. They can help us track our progress and inspire us to do better in all aspects of our lives.
Personally, I love goals. Although, I suck at sticking to them. I overreach, and in general, just suck at following through. Normally, I’ll get through one week before falling off the bandwagon. I’m sure some of you are in the same boat.
I’m hoping to change the way I go about setting and achieving goals. I want to actually achieve them rather than have them linger, haunting me.
I had originally published this post two years ago, but I’ve decided to readdress it as I believe creating and setting goals is always relevant, especially when we’re all trying to become the best version of ourselves (like I am).
So, what exactly is a goal?
Cambridge Dictionary defines it as an aim or purpose. Wikipedia goes into a little more detail defining it as an idea of the future or the desired result that we envision, plan and commit (or attempt to commit) to achieve.
A goal is an idea of the future or the desired result that we envision, plan and commit to achieving.
Why should we set them?
- You can take control of your lives. Setting goals can help you strive towards creating the life you want.
- Goals create accountability. They help in holding you accountable to your actions.
- They can motivate you. Having a goal could be just the push you need to get something done.
- They create a focus. Goals are specific to you. They’re different for everyone, and as a result they can help you focus on improving yourself.
How to set goals for success:
Step one: Evaluate your situation and find your why
You need to evaluate yourself and figure out your strengths and weakness: what you’re good at, and what you’re not so good at. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself: how will your past experiences impact your future experiences? Why do you want to set some goals?
Focusing on this may feel weird and seem silly, but it’s important to understand your habits (past and present) to help give you the best possible chance at achieving your goals.
Step two: Create a vision of your future
Now, what would you like your future to look like? Figuring out what you would like your future to look like will help you determine what goals you need to set.
Step three: Set your goals
It’s time for the fun part! Creating your goals! And I’m going to share with you a particular method to help the goals stick. You may or may not have heard of this method before, but it’s called the SMARTER method.
Okay so, SMARTER is an acronym and it stands for:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable or actionable
R – relevant
T – time-bound
E – evaluated
R – rewarded
Each word plays a particular role in making your goals easier to achieve. So, going into more detail:
Specific: The more specific your goal is, the more likely you’ll achieve it. Make it precise and straight to the point. Instead of I want to exercise more narrow it down to something like I want to run three times a week or I want to workout at the gym/home three times a week.
Measurable: Make sure your goals can be tracked. This way, you’ll be able to know whether you’re on track or not. The example I provided above is measurable. You will be able to know whether you run/workout three times a week or not.
Attainable/actionable: This is where I normally fall short. What this section is asking is to figure out whether you’re reaching a little too high. Is it actually possible to achieve your goal? I mean, there is nothing wrong with striving to accomplish something big, but you don’t want to end up feeling overwhelmed and/or like a failure if you’re unable to achieve the goal. What actions can you take to work towards the goal? So, using my trusty example again: if we change it up to say running an ultra marathon going straight into it probably won’t end well (especially if you’re new to running) but starting small with running three times a week and increasing the distances will be the actions you take to build up towards the end goal of an ultra marathon.
Relevant: Essentially, is this goal for you? If you’re creating it for someone else, it probably won’t be the best idea or outcome. Why are you setting the goal?
Time-bound: Setting a deadline for a goal can help put off procrastination. It gives you a time-frame to achieve it, and once the deadline comes around you can either choose to set a new goal, adjust the goal or continue it depending on how far along with your goal you are.
Evaluated: This is similar to whether the goal is attainable/actionable. You should be able to evaluate it and do so on a regular basis to see whether it’s still the right goal for you. Do you need to tone it down or can you increase the difficulty, have you changed your mind or are you still wanting to achieve it?
Rewarded: And finally, setting small and large rewards along the way/for once you’ve achieved your goal can help motivate you. Reward yourself when you reach a particular milestone of your goal. Using the example I’ve been using you could reward yourself after consistently running for three days a week after a month, and then after two, and then if you’re running an ultra marathon a big reward afterwards (although, I think achieving and running one of those is a reward in itself).
Step four: Take action
The final step. You’ve created your goals and now you need to get going. Start achieving them. Star
So, what are you waiting for…? Go set and achieve some goals!
In all honesty, I’ve come back this post because I’ve been in need of some motivation, and I’m hoping that by rewriting it and giving it a fresh new feel it motivates you.
After 2020, and even the start of 2021, I’m ready for something to go my way and I’m sure you are too.
We can control our goals.
Let’s become better together through our goals.