January is notorious for being the month of goal setting. A new year is the perfect time to set annual goals. You should set goals for every area in your life; career, health, family, financial, etc. The difference between a goal and a wish, is your commitment. I wish I was “in shape” but, I have yet to officially set a goal and commit to exercising and eating healthy. So, for now, being “in shape” is something I wish for. But how do you set goals that you will stick with. When I set goals, I follow these 5 guidelines.
I know I know, we have always been told that we shouldn’t limit ourselves. But I believe that one obstacle that prevents us from accomplishing our goals, is setting too many. When we have too many goals set simultaneously, we are often overwhelmed with attempting to be successful at everything. Once you accomplish one goal, you can start over and put all of your efforts toward another.
SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Specific. Your goals should be very specific. Clearly defining your goals will give you direction. They should outline specific measurements ($100, 10%, $15,365, etc.) to help you track your progress and ensure you are completely aware of when the goal is accomplished. Your goals should also be attainable. To ensure you have an attainable goal ask yourself “is this possible?” if the answer is yes, (and it should be) the next question to ask yourself is “how will I achieve this goal?”. Your goals should be relevant, meaningful, and important to you to ensure your commitment. And lastly, your goals should specify time with a deadline.
According to a study completed by the Huffington Post, you are 42% more likely to accomplish a goal when it is written. Writing your goals and placing them in an area you are likely to notice, will constantly remind you what you should be working towards. Everyone wants to be successful, especially those who take the time to set goals. The problem is we are often distracted from what our goals are and we fall off track. But writing your goals down in placing them in a highly visible place will motivate you and your brain will trigger to success mode. When you write your goals, write affirming statements. For example, “I will save $10,000 this year!”. By writing affirming statements, you train yourself to believe that your goals are possible and eliminate uncertainty.
Have you heard the riddle, “how would you eat an elephant?… one bite at a time.”? The same rule applies here. We all have big goals. Goal setting is a result of wanting to become something we are not, and evolve into something better. But that transformation usually does not occur overnight. So, you have to simplify your goals into multiple, smaller, achievable goals that work together to accomplish your ultimate goal. You should simplify your goal into its smallest form and gradually build. For example, if you want to pay off $10,000 of debt this year, break that down into quarterly, monthly, weekly, even daily goals. $10,000 of debt, is $2,500 a quarter, $833.33 a month, $193 a week, or $27.40 a day. Although $10,000 sounds massive, $27.40 sounds manageable. Simplifying your goals is also a way to measure your progress and ensure you are on track.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. Create a blueprint with a strategic plan to accomplish your goals. If you want to get from point A to point B, you have to have directions. Creating a plan will help you not only track your progress, but also help you to enjoy the journey to your ultimate goal.
Now that I have created my goals, the real challenge is… sticking to them! Join my mailing list today for a worksheet directly from my workbook with steps to set SMART goals.
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