With 365 days in a year, most people reserve goal setting for just one, New Year’s Eve. This special day is when most people sit down and evaluate where they want to be in the next year. Something about being at the end of a year and reflecting on your accomplishments makes the new year seem more conquerable.
Unfortunately, for most resolution setters, these goals fizzle out by February. The grind of daily life sets in, and they are back to the same patterns they were trying to break by setting a new year’s resolution in the first place. So, why are you waiting for New Year’s Eve to set goals for yourself?
The key to goal setting is to keep them S.M.A.R.T. and to stop procrastinating. There is never an ideal time to chase a new goal or dream. Circumstances could always be better. The problem is that if you chase the perfect conditions, you will never start pursuing goals. Stop procrastinating on your goals and get to work.
The next thing you need to do is set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
· Realistic (Result Focused)
What are Specific goals?
Often people set vague goals, and when they don’t achieve them, they wonder why. An example of a vague goal is: I want to lose 50 lbs.
Well, fantastic. However, you haven’t set a goal here. You just, sort-of declared to no one in particular that losing 50 lbs is a desire that you have.
How do you make a goal specific? You need to add the “what,” “why,” and “how.” Making the weight loss goal-specific would look like this.
I want to lose 50 lbs by exercising three days per week and cutting out soda pop from my diet because this will allow me to be more active with my kids and perform better at work.
There is a massive difference between the two goals. Get specific.
If you cannot measure a goal, you will never know if you’ve been successful. Our weight loss goal is specific and has measurements built into the goal. If your goal is fewer numbers-oriented, you need to make sure you have a tangible way to see that you have accomplished your goal.
One thing many people set goals for is their performance at work. If you’ve done this, let your boss know and ask for feedback or a performance review.
If you can never hit your goal because it is unattainable, you will quit. Make sure you can achieve success. For example, if you are not overweight, but you want to lose 50lbs, the goal is not attainable. Whereas if you are 75lbs overweight and want to lose 50lbs, this is an achievable goal.
Our weight loss example is only a realistic goal if we frame it in the perspective of someone who has extra weight to lose. Also, the weight loss goal is results-focused.
Why focus on results?
If you never focus on the result of the goal, you don’t know what you’ve done. Make sure you are aware of the end result of your goal (being able to play with your kids and increase your performance at work).
The missing piece to our weight loss goal is that it isn’t time-bound. To be a S.M.A.R.T. goal, you must make sure all goals have a timeline. These timelines must be realistic and attainable. No one can lose 50-lbs in one week without amputating a limb, so while it is feasible (amputations happen) it is not practical (not how you want to lose weight).
The final time-bound version of our goal looks like this:
I want to lose 50 lbs in 10 months. I will lose weight by exercising three days per week and cutting out soda-pop from my diet. I want to lose weight because this will allow me to be more active with my kids and perform better at work. I will ask for a performance evaluation at work when I have lost the weight to measure my increased performance. I will have the ability to take my kids to the park two times a week to play for 30 minutes uninterrupted when I finished.
This goal has many milestones and markers of success built into it. The results are measured not only in the pounds lost but in the performance at work and the increased playtime with the kids.
This goal has hit all the S.M.A.R.T. markers. The best part is that there wasn’t any need to put it off until New Year’s Eve. This goal can get started right now.