Are Your Eyes On The Prize? – Set Your Goals
Setting goals and creating a strategic step-by-step plan to implement them are crucial to overcoming your fears. You need to do these things in order to take action. Otherwise, your worries will keep you stuck and will hold you back from your dreams.
Setting SMART Goals
Goal setting doesn’t work if it’s not done in an efficient way, though. Knowing how to set goals that will help you succeed is important. If you’ve never heard of SMART goals, I think this concept will help you to create targeted objectives that you can achieve. Even if you are familiar with SMART goals, a refresher is always useful. When you set SMART goals, you’ll have far fewer big ideas that are never accomplished.
SMART is an acronym. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Let’s briefly talk about what each of those means in this context.
Specific – In order for a goal to come to fruition, it has to be specific. Essentially, this means you have to know what you want and include multiple details. Too many times, we have only a vague idea of our actual desires. In these cases, it’s no wonder we fail to reach our end game. I’ll talk more about how to discover what you want further along in this chapter.
Measurable – When a goal is measurable, there are criteria that allow you to check its progress. Include factors like how many, or how much when you plan to reach your goal and other measurable details. Amounts and time frames are imperative factors in your goals. They let you set milestones for celebration and give you an endpoint for success.
Attainable – Your goals should be realistic. That’s not to say you should avoid reaching for the clouds. You can dream big, as long as you’re not setting yourself up for failure. Having a plan will help to ensure your goals are within your reach and avoid burnout.
Relevant – This term refers to where your goal’s focus should lie. You want to place your energies into achieving something that is meaningful to your current place in life and that is in line with your values. This part of goal setting is where the concept of being honest with yourself comes into play again. If something isn’t really what you want or isn’t all that important, you’re bound to lose interest and give up.
Time-Bound – Having a deadline is important to goals. A goal has an end date. Time-bound differs from measurable. The measurable portion of your goals can be check-ins, where you measure how far you’ve come to ensure you’re on track. A deadline is a date you hope to have completely achieved your goal. It gives you a sense of urgency and provides a feeling of accomplishment.
Knowing What You Want
In order to set goals that are specific, you first have to know what you want. This goes back to our exercise on getting honest with yourself. Revisit all the questions you asked then and be sure you’re able to fully answer them without a doubt. Your goals need to be relevant to your life right now. They must be specific and purposeful enough to motivate you when the going gets tough.
Choose only the goals that have a high priority to you, the ones that call to your soul. These pursuits will sustain you and hold your attention. They’ll inspire commitment. Reminding yourself of your why can help to ensure the goals you choose to pursue are ones that are important enough to complete. Going after too many things spreads your focus too thin and leads to unfulfilled objectives.
When you feel that you know what you want, write it down. Use powerful action phrases such as, “I will,’ and, “I must.” Doing so will compel you to act. It gives more urgency and meaning to your pursuits. Place your goal statements in areas where you will see them regularly. These visual reminders will help to ensure you’re constantly moving toward making changes. Remember, this is a daily pursuit.
Make a Plan
You’ve done a lot of work so far toward creating goals that will help you to face fear and challenge yourself. You have a strong idea of what you want and why. You know how to write SMART goals that get results. Now, you’ll take this knowledge you’ve gathered and use it to craft a plan of action.
With a plan in hand, you almost can’t fail. Work the plan, and you’ll stay on track. If things go awry or an obstacle crosses your path, just tweak things and find a way to get back to working your plan. Having a structured guide can make all the difference between failure and success.
Trying to achieve a goal without having a plan will simply lead to frustration. You won’t know which steps to take next, and measuring your progress will be impossible. Once you’re able to come up with a blueprint for reaching your goal, achieving it will be much more doable.
One strategy you can take in order to create the steps you’ll need to take is to work backward. Look at your ultimate goal, and then break it down into smaller chunks. In order to achieve x, what will it be required of you each month or even every week?
Once you’ve broken things down, you can begin to strategize just what it is you’ll need to do in order to meet these mini-deadlines. For example, if you’re hoping to lose weight on the road to living a healthier life, you might include some steps such as go to the gym three times each week and remove all junk food from your home by a certain date. These things are tangible and measurable. They make the vague goal of “losing weight” more achievable.
Again, I want to emphasize that making real, lasting change requires daily work. Once you’ve brainstormed some ideas for what you’ll need to do on a regular basis to meet your goals, write those steps down in your calendar. Commit to doing these things regularly in order to ensure they are completed and that you are continuously moving forward.
Also, you’ll want to be sure to evaluate your progress on a regular basis to be sure you’re on track. Schedule check-ins at least every few months to assess where you are toward meeting your goal. Celebrate your successes with relevant rewards. This is a routine that boosts confidence and motivates you to keep going.
Finally, remember that you can always make adjustments if something isn’t quite working out. However, if you don’t have an action plan with steps in place to make it happen, there’s really no room for tweaks. When you have a plan in place, you’re also better able to foresee and make accommodations for any obstacles that can occur. Taking a preventative approach is a way to avoid becoming frustrated and deviating from your plan or giving up entirely.
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