It is widely agreed upon that setting goals is essential for an improvement in any area of your life. However, setting effective goals is not as simple as it might seem. It takes a strategic method of approach, not only to the goal itself but to the motivation and driving force behind it. This article provides you with a 5-step guide to creating powerful goals and achieving them.
To maximize your benefit from this process, first write down all the goals that you have always wanted to achieve, as well as the reasons behind them. A study directed by Dr. Gail Matthews at the Dominican University of California shows that you are 43% more likely to achieve your goals by simply writing them down.
1. Make it come from the HEART
The 5-step acronym H.E.A.R.T (coined by Jim Kwik) will help you identify what goals are right for you holistically, as well as help you decide where to focus your energy. Choose goals that are:
- Healthy: Your goal should support your overall emotional and physical well-being. Investigate what areas of your life might be neglected if you pursue the goal and weigh the consequences against each other to determine what is best for your overall well-being.
- Enduring: Your goal should be sustainable, and adaptable. Your goal should be able to serve you long-term and easily be transformed into your next goal once it has been attained. Many people on extreme diets never reach their weight-loss/fitness goals specifically because their goal is not sustainable. In fitness, like many things, consistency is crucial to reaching goals long term.
- Alluring: Your goal should be exciting; it should be something that you want to do and something that you are passionate about.
- Relevant: Your goal should align with your core values and purpose. If your authentic values are not respected once you complete your goal you will not feel fulfilled. For instance, many people spend their whole lives striving to be rich but once they have achieved that wealth, they feel depressed. This is not to say that your goal cannot be to become rich; this could be a valid goal if it is truly what you want. In many cases, people crave wealth for the things they falsely assume will come with it like freedom, community, love, or acceptance.
- Truth: Your goal should be authentically yours. Do not choose a goal because you feel like you should, or because your friends or family want you to, but because you genuinely desire it. If a goal is not important to you, you will not be able to push through adversity to achieve it. You should know your true motive behind your goal – a noticeably clear picture of why it is meaningful to you. Once you clearly envision the outcome, you can balance what you want more, the joy of achievement or the short-term relief from quitting.
2. Make it SMART
Once you have determined goals that are right for you, use the S.M.A.R.T. framework to ensure you have the best chance of achieving them.
Specific: To make your goal as tangible and specific as possible, be sure you can answer the 5 W’s:
- What is it?
- Who am I doing it with?
- Where is it?
- When Is it?
- Why am I doing it?
Measurable: Being able to measure your goals is critical. Seeing your progress helps you stay motivated and gives you a sense of achievement. For instance, the goal of losing 10lbs of body fat is specific and measurable. If you have a baseline body composition scan, you can know that you have lost 10lbs of body fat when you re-do that scan.
Attainable: Having attainable, realistic goals is crucial so that you do not get discouraged throughout the process. For you to achieve any goal, you must believe that you can do so. Without that belief does a goal become impossible.
Relevant: Making sure the goal is relevant to your overall pursuits is crucial. For instance, if you are a bodybuilder trying to gain weight and muscle, running a marathon might not be a relevant goal.
Time-Bound: Having a specific time frame will help you to achieve the goal. With a concrete timeframe, it is much easier to see whether you have or have not achieved the goal and makes it far more difficult to procrastinate pursuing it.
3. Break it Down
Once your large product goal is set, break it down into smaller process goals until you have an actionable step that you can take today. These smaller process goals will give you a direction to follow, a way to stay motivated as you complete them, and a way to measure the progress you make toward your overarching product goal. For example, if a marathon is your product goal, your process goals could be a 5k, a 10k, a half-marathon. Achieving these shorter-term milestones show progress, helping you keep motivated while working towards your main goal.
4. Take Strong Action
Now that you have your large goals and smaller goals to help in achieving them, take strong, immediate action on them now. Tony Robbins’s famously said that “the only impossible journey is the one you never begin”. For a goal to be achieved, instant behaviour change is necessary.
To achieve unfamiliar results, you need to act in an unfamiliar way.
5. Re-assess and Repeat
Setting and achieving goals is a lifelong cycle. Be sure to frequently revisit your goals to assure that they still align with your overall desires and purpose.
If your life is a road trip, your goals are the map that gives you the directions to follow. If you are following the right map, you can reach your destination easily. However, many people have upside-down or crumpled ‘maps’ that show a completely different city than where they want to go, and they end up feeling extremely frustrated and lost.
By following these 5 steps you will be able to set the right goals for you to succeed in all aspects of your life. Please reach out with any questions or if you want guidance setting goals for your team.