5 Steps to Goal Setting
Over the last 5 months, I have gotten up close and personal with my discovery process. This required me to ask myself some hard questions in an effort to understand what I wanted to do and how I would go about making it happen. You see, I am cut from a different cloth. My desires are much different than go to school and find a job, I did that and that was cool but I found that I wanted to create my own opportunities. Since this discovery, the road hasn't been easy because I have literally just been trying out my skills. When I decided to get smart with my goals, life started to make a little more sense.
When's the last time you looked at your goals and assessed how specific they were? For me, I do this frequently, it helps to keep me grounded and moving forward. Getting specific means breaking it down...all the way down. I always use weight loss as an example because so may people can relate. Imagine that weight loss is one of your goals. Your chances of reaching that goals increases when you put a number on it. Instead of saying I want to lose weight, you say I want to lose 15 lbs. You are saying the same thing but the latter holds you accountable. In addition to being specific with the number you want to lose, you also need to be specific with what you will need to make this goal happen. Will you need help, who from? What do you plan to do to lose this weight? Where will you do it? And, one of the most important questions o all is why. Why do you want/need to lose weight? When you ask yourself this question, get real honest with yourself; it's the answer that will keep you going in many cases.
Getting specific means breaking your goal all the way down.
Once you identified the specifics of your goal, you have to make it measurable. This means assigning a tracking method. Taking it back to losing weight..it's easy to measure being successful because the scale will it us know, right? Here's the tricky part, it's always good to create an alternate method of measure. Why? Because if the first one doesn't produce the results you want, you will have another way of measuring progress. In the case of weight loss, use inches lost or body fat percentage. If you're working, something will move. All too often we get frustrated and quick because our method of measurement isn't showing favorable results. Don't set yourself up for disappointment by putting limits on how your success can be measured.
Always create more than one method of measurement.
This is the fun part. This is when you get off your butt and do the work. When the new year began, I said I wanted to write. Instead of putting the goal out there and letting it sit and fester, I knew I had to put in work. I set a goal of what I wanted to write, how much I wanted to write, to how many readers I wanted to reach, right? Not only that, I created action steps like writing every day, connecting with other writers, securing contributing roles, and growing my audience as things I needed to do to reach my goal. Goals don't work unless you do. The same is true for our weight loss example. If losing weight is your goal, your action steps may include clearing out your kitchen and replacing your foods with clean eating options. It may also include upping your daily water consumption, getting a physical so you're aware of any limitations and getting active.
Goals don't work unless you do.
Getting real with your goal setting can be difficult because it's at this point that you identify how feasible this goal is for you. Let me preface by saying, it is okay to dream big; I encourage it. But make sure you that you have a plan. Now that that's out of the way, let's discuss how realistic our goals are. Sometimes we set right now goals that don't match up to where we are right now. Before you close the post and delete and block me, hear me out. Let's say you've been trying to lose weight for years and it hasn't worked for you. Not because you have the medical incapability to do so but because you had some really bad habits that you need to get over and it just wasn't easy. So you failed over and over and over again. You would probably get frustrated, right? You might even quit. That's precisely why you have to set goals that are realistic for where you are now.
The fact of the matter is bad habits are hard to break and change, even if its for the better, doesn't happen overnight. So, now what? Set smaller goals. Take it from me, a person who set out to lose weight for years. I would come out of the gate with these astronomical numbers in mind because all I saw was the end result. It wasn't until I accepted that my goal would be a journey and set a smaller more feasible goal for where I was then that I began to experience success. And, over time I was able to hit the big numbers I wanted but not before I knocked those small ones out of the park first.
Set goals that are realistic for where you are now and then build.
Attach a time stamp to hold yourself accountable. There was a time in my life where I was a serial dreamer. I had goals coming out of every part of me but I wasn't doing anything with them. It made me feel good just to have them and well I guess at the time I just wasn't ready to be an active participant in my dreams. Things have since changed, and I can't express enough how important deadlines are.
If you walk into my office you will see a white board with my weekly to-do list, you will see my planner, my calendar, and a bunch of notes scribbled on my pad. That's not to mention the calendars and lists in my phone. Imagine how unproductive I would be if I did not set deadlines. Outside of just making sure I am doing what I said I would do, deadlines give you a clean slate to move on to other things. For example, I told myself I wanted to lose 20 lbs before I would become licensed to teach Zumba. And, well the licensing was happening on a specific date. My deadline was set for me. So what did I do, I crushed that goal and lost an additional 10 for good measure. I don't know if I would have been as successful if I didn't have a hard date I was working towards. The same thing goes for you and your goals; create a deadline to hold yourself accountable or watch the dates fly past you as you and your goal remain stagnant.
Attach a time stamp to hold yourself accountable.
Setting and reaching goals in theory isn't that difficult, the part that makes it hard is the application. You have to be consistently persistent to see the movement you want to see and even then you need to be patient, good things take time. And, considering time is our only real luxury, you can't afford to waste it.
Until next time,