To accomplish your goals, you must know how to set them. You can’t just say, “I want (fill in the blank),” and expect it to happen. Goal setting starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and, with a lot of hard work, ends in success and satisfaction. Here are some well-defined steps to take in between to help you create healthy habits that transcend the specifics of each goal.
1. SET GOALS THAT MOTIVATE YOU, AND ATTACH THEM TO LIFE EVENTS
When you set goals for this year, make sure they move you in the direction you want to go. In other words, your goals should motivate you, mean something to you and add value to your life.
Achieving your goals requires time and commitment. Write down why the goal is worth this investment. Is it to improve your health? If so, now is the ideal time. Addressing your health today can help you prevent problems in the future.
It also can be helpful to associate your goals with upcoming life events, such as a wedding, family function, birthday, anniversary, etc., to keep you motivated.
2. BE S.M.A.R.T. ABOUT SETTING GOALS
This process has many variations, but in essence, your goals should be:
- S-specific: Goals must be well defined. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining exactly where you want to end up.
- M-measurable: Include exact amounts, dates, benchmarks, etc. so you can track your progress. Without a way to measure success, you miss the celebration of reaching milestones along the way.
- A-attainable: Be realistic and make sure that your goal is pos- sible. If you set a goal you can’t achieve, that will only deflate your motivation and erode your confidence. Setting realistic, yet challenging, goals will provide the balance you need.
- R-relevant: Your goals should be applicable to the direction you want your life to take, from fitness and health to career and family. By aligning your goals with your direction, you will develop the focus you need to get ahead.
- T-time bound (most important): Your goals must have a deadline — not a vague timeframe (for example, “I will fit in my bathing suit by spring), but an actual, specific date. I attach my short-term goals to upcoming events, like a big concert, and reward myself for achieving them with a treat, like a new pair of jeans. Setting a deadline increases your commitment, and reaching your goals can happen more quickly.
3. SET GOALS IN WRITING, AND POST THEM EVERYWHERE
The act of writing down a goal, seeing it in black and white, gives it meaning and makes it tangible and real.
- As you write, use the word “will.” Goal statements have inherent power. Visualize yourself doing the actions needed to achieve your goals. Whatever you see and say to yourself, believe. I print my goals and tape them up at home and work. I read them often and continuously chart them. It is a commit- ment that must be acknowledged daily.
- Frame your goal statement positively. This is how you will motivate yourself.
- Make an action plan. Always stay focused on the outcome, and write the steps you must take daily, weekly and monthly to be successful.
- Here’s a helpful hint: By writing out your steps, then crossing out each one as you complete it, you will see that you are making progress.
I wish you a very happy, healthy and goal-oriented holiday sea-son. Let’s go after our dreams in 2023!