How To Set Goals You’ll Actually Achieve + Free Goal Setting Worksheet
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The New Year is creeping up on us, so we tend to start planning out our new year resolutions full of hope and excitement only to give up and drop them, or in some cases never start them!
While we do seem to meet some of our goals, the vast majority end up as only wishes. Why is that? We all have the willingness and desire to improve ourselves and meet aspirations, so what are we missing?
The #1 Reason You Aren’t Meeting Your Goals:
FAILING TO SET YOUR GOALS IN A CORRECT WAY THAT PROMOTES SUCCESS!
It’s all in the way you are setting your goals that leads you to achieve them! In other words, if you don’t set goals in a way that leads to success, you’ve already set yourself up to fail.
When setting goals there is a tendency to list things such as:
- Lose weight
- Save money/ Spend less
- Become or stay more healthy
- Get organized
These are great basic goals but we need to set goals in a way that when they are written down, there is an immediate plan within them!
If I had a goal to lose weight, then I need to first realize that a goal to just “lose weight” is incredibly vague and gives no direction.
How will I know when I have met my goal? In the morning when I am 2 lbs lighter before breakfast? Or after I have trimmed down 50 lbs? Am I trying to lower my body fat percentage, lose inches around my waist, or just want to lower the number on the scale?
We Set Goals Wrong!
As you can see there is a lot more that should be going into how you set every single goal, to insure you are headed down a path that eventually leads to success in you meeting them!
But goal setting isn’t just about getting specific. Being specific is actually only the first step in setting SMART goals!
How to set goals you’ll actually meet!
SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable/attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This method of goal setting increases your chances of achieving what you want in life by providing clarity to goals which enables you to focus your efforts and make better use of time and resources.
Be Specific- The first step in creating a SMART goal is getting specific. This will help clarify your ideas and help you focus your efforts in the right direction! To help you get specific, ask yourself the “W” questions.
- Who- is involved?
- What- do I want to accomplish?
- When- establish a time frame?
- Where- determine a location?
- Why- is this goal important to me?
- Which- variables are resources required to meet this goal?
For example, rather than having a goal to lose weight, a more specific goal would be to lose 15 lbs and 3 inches off your waist.
Make it Measurable- It is important to have measurable aspects of your goals so you can track your progress and recognize achievement! What parts of your goals are measurable? Ask yourself…
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know I have achieved my goal?
For the example above, I want to lose 15lbs and 3 inches around my waist. When I am 15 lbs lighter and down 3 inches, I will know I have accomplished my goal!
*A measurable goal doesn’t always need numbers. As long as there is a specific aspect that will indicate that you have met your goal!
Plan it! Actionable/Attainable- A key part of creating SMART goals is coming up with ways you can achieve these goals or “creating an action plan”. To create an actionable and attainable goal you need to ask yourself…
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- What steps do I need to take to meet my goal?
When creating your action plan you may find it easy to think of three steps you can do to accomplish your goal. Continuing with the example above, here are three example steps to meet my goal of losing 15 lbs and 3 inches around my waist.
- Joining a spin class at my local gym.
- Create a specific diet plan.
- Stop eating out.
*Another part of making an attainable goal is making sure your goal is something you can control. Having a goal to “Get a raise!” may not be a very good goal if you aren’t in charge of your paycheck!
Is my goal Realistic?- How realistic is your goal? Think about what constraints could prevent you from reaching your goals? Your goal should also push you but not be set higher than your abilities. Setting a goal that is too high may not only leave you frustrated and discouraged, it can prove hard to keep focused. Ask yourself…
- What constraints do I have? Including financial and physical constraints.
- Do I have the resources, or access to the resources I need?
After all is considered, How realistic is your goal? To put into place my plan to achieve my goal of losing 15lbs and 3 inches around my waist, do I have a gym nearby? Can I afford a member ship and healthy food? Instead of 15lbs should I start with 5 or 10 lbs?
Keep it Timely- The last step in creating SMART goals is keeping yourself time bound! A goal without a time limit will make procrastinating extremely easy. If there is no due date for your goal, why work on it today?Keep yourself accountable by setting a specific and appropriate time limit for your goal. Push your self but remember to keep it realistic!
This is also a great way to help you focus and set priority for your goals, giving you something to work towards!
For example, if you have a goal with a target end date in a week, you’ll likely work on that goal before working on your six-month goal.
- When do I want to accomplish this goal?
Set a date and stick with it!
Put it all together to make a SMART goal!
Using our examples used throughout the post, a final SMART goal may look something like this.
I have a goal to lose 15 lbs and 3 inches from my waist in 8 weeks by joining a spin class, attending 3 times a week, creating a specific diet plan, and stop eating out.
This goal is Specific, Measurable, Actionable/Attainable, Realistic, Timely.
- Write down your goals!
- Make a motivation board!
- Share your goals with someone close to you to keep you accountable!
- Evaluate your progress at the end of every day!
So if you’re sick of never reaching your goals, set SMART goals and try our tips for staying focused and motivated! Proper planning and setting of your goals will set you up for success.
Happy New Year coming soon and make 2018 your year by killing your new resolutions! Let me know what your SMART goals are in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter below to get notified everytime I post!