Here we are again full swing. And to be completely honest with you I’m actually really scared. My birthday is weeks away and it freaks me out that I’ll be TWENTY-FIVE. Can we just rewind to the part where I would run off the bus to watch Lizzie McGuire and only take bathroom breaks during the commercials? If only that was a real possibility, right? Well there is a real possibility in successfully setting goals and achieving them in 2020.
Now I’m not one to say you need to wait for a specific time to start doing something because to tell you the truth, I only picked the title of this post because it was so fitting. But in reality you should start whatever it is you want to start NOW! Who cares if it’s in the middle of the month or if you’ve already tried three times and failed – try again!
First things first… What is goal setting? I know that might sound like a dumb or rhetorical question but a lot people don’t really know what goal setting is! According to Google, goal setting involves the development of an action plan designed to motivate and guide a person or group toward a goal. Goal setting can be guided by goal setting criteria such as SMART criteria (we’ll talk about that later). Goal setting is a major component of personal development and management literature. The best way to break down your goals and to achieve them is to use the SMART plan. That is Set a goal, Make a plan, Get to work, Stick to it, and Reach the goal. So how do you pick goals that you can successfully apply to the SMART plan?
- Envision – Before you make a list of goals you want to achieve this year, make a list of all the areas in your life and envision how you want each area to look. This should include but isn’t limited to your health, career, personal growth, relationships, creativity, and spirituality. This should be super specific! How do you want to feel in each area? For example, if you know you want to improve in the fitness aspect of life you could want to feel glowly, strong, and confident. Once you come up with the feeling you will then be able to transition into the what and how of that goal.
- Write them down – Once you’ve envisioned your goal and what it looks and feels like once it’s achieved it’s time to write it down! It’s said that you are more likely to actually do something if you write it down. To take it a step further, I encourage you to tell somebody. This holds in place in accountability. You don’t have to tell him or her the specifics but just the fact that you voiced your goal to someone puts you that much closer to actually achieving it.
- Cut out distractions – This is the part that used to get me every time I would set a goal. It is extremely easy to get distracted by either outside voices or the voices in your head. But whatever God put in your heart is what God had intended for you! You are capable of so much more than you believe. Your mind and thoughts are so powerful that it can either do you go or bring you bad. If someone or something is distracting you from achieving your goal, cut it off or move it to the side – you have work to do.
- Set deadlines – How scary to put a timeframe on something you haven’t even achieved yet (I know). But the whole idea is that this will also hold you accountable. If you say “I want to be able to do 100 sit-ups” that doesn’t give you much motivation to actually reach that goal because in the back of your mind that could be in 2 months or in 3 years. Again, be realistic.
- Plan – Prioritize which goals are the most important to you. Ask yourself, “what is the impact of this goal?” Which goal is the scariest? Whatever that goal(s) is that should be at the top of your list. In order to grow you have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. My goal was to live in New York at some point of my life so I packed two suitcases and moved to Manhattan. This had been a place I had visited once before for five days while on vacation. I had no friends, no relatives and the only support was miles away back home. I had to completely start over in a city I knew nothing about (talk about being uncomfortable) but that taught me so much about myself nonetheless I grew tremendously because of it.
- Re-evaluate – Are your goals realistic? This is such a hard one because people always say that if your goals don’t scare you they aren’t big enough… But how big is too big? You can only control so much so your goals must be obtainable by YOU. If your goal is to have 10,000 Instagram followers ask yourself what are you doing to generate traction. Are you creating quality content or just posting a bunch of selfies with no meaning behind it? Are you using appropriate hashtags, responding to comments, and liking your followers posts? If you aren’t doing any of those things how can you expect to gain a 10,000+ following?
- Why – I saved the best for last. What keeps you motivated is the “why” factor. If your reasoning behind your goals isn’t big enough I can promise you that 9 out of 10 times you won’t meet your goal. Your why should be the biggest motivator. I want to get in shape this year. Why? Because it will bring back my self-confidence and I won’t have as much anxiety about going to the beach. Get really real with yourself when it comes to the why portion as it will either make or break your goal.
The whole idea of goal setting is to take control of your life! It’s so easy to lose yourself and get in the habit of routine (and even bad routines). If you are unhappy with your life it’s time for you to make a change. I’m by no means a licenses psychologist nonetheless do I have a degree in coaching. These are just key steps that I take when setting goals and they have successfully helped me achieve them. Like all things in your life, take it with a grain of salt. Until next time…