How To Set A Goal
Goals are often thought of while experiencing intense emotion. Being inspired by the accomplishments of others, feeling inadequate with your own performance or experiencing an insatiable hunger for better outcomes in life. Allowing feelings and emotions to ignite the spark is a powerful jump-start in the right direction, but it won’t sustain you. Moods are influenced and circumstances are constantly changing in all different directions. The reasons you set your goal shouldn’t change as a result.
It’s time you dug deeper than
the superficial reasoning for wanting change.
Start By Asking The Right Questions
Ask yourself the true meaning behind the goals you are setting.
Why do you want to exercise?
Why do you want to eat healthier?
Why do you want to make more money?
Why do you want to improve your mindset?
Why do you want to study that particular subject?
Everyone’s answers will differ, but one commonality in their responses is a feeling. Your current situation is making you feel unease, unhappiness, anxiety or frustration. When you achieve that goal you’ll be fulfilled, grateful, healthy, positive and confident. When you begin to doubt yourself from achieving what you set out to, bring your attention to the positive feelings it will bring. This is a simple way to get started with your goal setting. It’s also a great reference for when you get derailed from the goals you’ve already set.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
When setting goals it’s easy to take a dreamer’s approach, thinking big without a logical plan to keep you focused. Each goal needs an end result, the progress made needs to be monitored, measured, and held to a high standard. Setting goals without a deadline could lead you down a path of procrastination, lethargy, and ultimately starting over, or worse giving up altogether. Using the S.M.A.R.T. goals guide will help you plan, achieve, and celebrate your success.
Get as clear as possible with the goals you want to accomplish, start by thinking of the end result. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Consider what your limitations may be, as well as the strengths you bring to the table. Be honest with yourself because false-truths will only hold you back. These are not meant to box you into a smaller goal, but rather prepare you for what lies ahead.
After you gain some clarity on your goal it’s time to break it down into measurable increments of growth. Whether your ultimate goal involves fitness or personal development, small actions will get you closer to the main goal. When designing your plan it may appear as goals within goals, that’s a great start (i.e. before focusing your attention on losing weight first pay attention to your portion sizes.)
Be realistic in the means of effort, money, time and energy you can/will invest into achieving your goal. The possibilities for growth are endless, and more often than not right at your fingertips. However, the question isn’t about the path but the person taking it. Ask yourself: Am I physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and/or financially prepared for the road ahead? You may uncover you’ve gotten a bit ahead of yourself. This simply means it’s time to reassess and make another plan. Don’t diminish the goal when it’s the plan that needs adjusting.
Emotions can get the best of your thoughts, leading you to believe you want something that may not serve your higher self. Ask yourself deep questions about the lifestyle changes you wish to take on. WHY? Are you striving for short term pleasures or overall better quality of life? Think of your future self as you create actions and behaviors to follow. If you find that your goals are a bit superficial go back to the drawing board. Consider this a step closer to defining exactly what you want.
Set a deadline and work toward it diligently. Create a system of checking in with yourself, don’t just wait for the deadline to approach. For instance, check-in weekly with yourself if the goal is 3 months away. Be honest about the progress you are making and where you could use some improvement. Make these meetings a priority and take yourself and your goal seriously. Remember, the plan to achieve your goal is never set in stone, it’s constantly evolving to fit the person you are growing into. A deadline will help you get the momentum going.
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
The Marine Corps uses the phrase “improvise, adapt and overcome” for problem-solving and quick thinking. It applies the same to goal setting because life is unpredictable. The environmental circumstances may negatively impact the original plan AND the goal remains the same. Too often goal setting revolves around only the positive end result without considering the obstacles that may arise. Instead of neglecting the possibility of being derailed prepare a plan for that exact scenario. Preparing physically, mentally and emotionally, bracing yourself to face adversity and succeed anyway.
This post is about the WHY and HOW behind the goals you set for yourselves. They are driven by emotion and sustained by disciplined habits you acquire. But in between these two crucial concepts lies the plan for reaching your desires no matter how grand they are. A plan must be solid and flexible. Make your focus clear so that your actions are diligent. Prepare your mindset for whatever lies ahead and start letting go of what is no longer benefiting you.
Allow your emotions to be the compass guiding you toward your achievements, not away from them. If you feel inspired by something it’s not just by chance. When you are moved into action it’s most likely because that’s what you TRULY want to do in life. Don’t allow the unknown or self-doubt misguide you to thinking you can’t. You simply haven’t gathered all of the knowledge needed. Be patient, trust that you will improvise when thrown a curveball, adapt to the last minute changes, and overcome any obstacles.
The goal is shiny, attractive and will feel incredible when you get there. The journey, however, is where you learn the most about who you are. The path into unknown territory is dimly lit, the mindset you choose is what will light the way. Choose the way you approach your goals consciously.