Jim Rohn said it best “A life best lived is a life by design.” Without a blueprint of what you want your life to be, you will lose much of your valuable time to others and outside circumstances. The first step in taking control of your future is to start by planning it. Insert goal setting.
Like any good blueprint, you start with designing the foundation. We laid this last week in our blog post on outlining your core values. Now its time to take those core values and pair them with actionable items to move you in the direction you want to go. It’s time to start building the walls of your dream house. Goals give you the intention of what you want out of your life.
The term “goal setting” can be broad and may even be something you shy away from because you don’t know where to begin. Don’t worry, we have a foolproof and time-efficient way to help you find and set your goals.
The first step in setting any goal is to have an outline of what a good goal is. If you’re going to take the time to set goals, make sure they are worthy of being on your list. For each goal you come up with you will want to put them through this simple 5 step process. This will allow you to see if its a goal worth keeping around:
- Specific: This is not a time to generalize things, but rather to be as specific as you can about what you hope to achieve. For example instead of having a goal of “being more productive” hone in on what you are going after. Take it a step further and set a goal to something you can measure as being productive. For example, this may be “getting 8 hours of sleep each night” which in turn will make you more productive or you may want to set the goal of blocking 30 minutes out at the beginning of your day to get your priorities together so you can be the most productive.
- Measurable: Remember the saying “What gets measured gets done”? There is a reason it is so well known. It’s because it’s true. Your goal needs to be something that you can track and see progress in. Seeing progress towards your goals will give you the fuel needed to continue going after them and seeing them all the way through.
- Attainable: Make sure it is a goal you can achieve. If you set something so far out of reach, your confidence may take a hit when you are not able to achieve it. However, remember to not make your goals too easy as you want to work for them, so make them at least one bar above where you are now.
- Relevant: Your goals should be taking you where you want to go in the near future. They should be items you are passionate about or hoping to improve upon. They are things you are ready to take action on.
- Time-Bound: If you don’t set a deadline for your goal then honestly you probably aren’t going to achieve it. Why? Because a deadline gives a sense of urgency and purpose for what you are working towards. Make sure you give yourself a realistic timeline for achieving the goal, but don’t give yourself so much time that time becomes the enemy and allows you to fizzle out on chasing the goal.
The Art of Goal Setting
Now that you understand what a good goal looks like, it’s time to start crafting your own. Before we begin it is important to remember that when you are working on setting goals to not let others have an influence on them. Why? Because these are items you personally want to go after and achieve. No one else has control over your life which is why goals should come from within. If you are going after someone else’s goals for you, more than likely the goal will lose steam before being achieved.
Ready for the fun part? Time to set your goals!
- Find Your Happy Place – To get the creative juices flowing you need to be in a space that is quiet (or loud if that’s your scene) and provides zero interruptions for at least 30-45 minutes. This means out of the house, away from the kiddos, and somewhere you feel at peace. This can be a local coffee shop, the library, or your favorite diner – as yes snacking while goal setting is completely acceptable.
- Free Flow – Set a timer for 5:00 minutes and start writing. Write anything that pops in your mind when you think of what you want to accomplish this year. This is not a time to edit your thoughts. This is a time to get all of the ideas, voices, you name it out of your head and onto a piece of paper you can visually see. You may not need the entire 5:00 minutes, stop when you notice you are reaching for more ideas.
- Find a Pattern – Now it’s time to examine all of the things on your list. Do you notice any similarities or a pattern forming? Circle similar goals. For example, if you wrote down “eat healthier”, “start exercising 20 minutes a day”, and “sign up for my first 5 k” then you can start to see how important health goals are to you as they appear multiple times in different ways on your list.
- Edit, Edit, Edit– After you are able to see what patterns your goals have its time to edit. While you want to set challenging goals remember they need to be achievable. Give yourself time to go through each thought you have on your paper. Scratch off the goals that may be better suited for another time or season in your life. An example of this is if you wrote down “take a month off to travel” and you know this year you are expecting the arrival of a new baby then this goal would be better suited for another time as more than likely it would be a stretch to make that happen this year.
- Grade Your Goals- It’s time to give your goals a passing or failing grade using the SMART system we taught you. If your goals don’t match up to all 5 checkpoints it’s time to take them off the list or reevaluate how you format them. Only A+ goals should stay on your list. Why? Because these are the things that are of the utmost importance to you and what you hope to achieve. Don’t get distracted by the little things, but rather use your time and energy going after the big things you want out of your life.
Working On Your Goals
Now that you have your goals how do you implement them? With practice and purpose. Just as you would schedule important work meetings on your calendar, you need to do the same with your goals. Time blocking is going to help you achieve your goals in the deadline you have set for them.
Setting aside time to work on your goals should be included in your daily schedule.
What can help some of your goals seem more achievable? By taking them and breaking them down into mini daily, or weekly goals. For example, if you have the goal of decluttering your home over the next 6 months, then you can break this down into a daily goal. You’ve decided to start with the kitchen. Block out time on Monday morning to purge the pantry, Tuesday morning to purge the Tupperware drawer, etc. This allows you to have smaller checkpoints to cross off on the way to your overall goal. This practice takes your goal and will make it seem a lot less overwhelming.
There is not a perfect number of goals that you should have for yourself. You may have 3 or possibly 10. The important thing is to have them. Starting today we challenge you to come up with at least 3 SMART goals you want for yourself in 2020.