Goal Setting: Planning
After discussing the excuses that tend to hold us back, we moved on to planning which is the first step in creating ANY goal.
Step 1: Define What You Want
Your first step is to get very clear about what it is you would like to achieve.
The goal you set is, of course, only limited by your imagination. You could, for instance, set goals for your career, for your relationships, for your finances, for contribution, and even for self-growth. The goal itself doesn’t really matter. What matters is that while setting these goals you are able to answer the following three questions:
- What specifically do I want?
- Why specifically do I want this?
- When specifically do I want this?
Not following this initial guideline is the first of many reasons why the vast majority of people don’t consistently achieve their goals. You’ll also need to describe the reasons why you want this specific goal. Without these reasons, there will be no motivation to pursue this goal in the first place. Lastly, you need to set a definite date for the accomplishment of this goal. Having a time frame helps build urgency. Without a sense of urgency, you just won’t make enough time for this goal in your schedule. Note that this can be anywhere from a few days to years depending on the scope of the goal that you’ve laid out.
Within this step, we can use the “S.M.A.R.T.” system of goal setting to help us define what it is we really want to achieve.
- S: Your goals must be SPECIFIC. They must outline precisely what it is that you would like to achieve. The more detail, the better. Specifically, focus on what you want and not on how you will accomplish these things.
- M: Your goals must be MEASURABLE. Spend some time developing a process that you will use to measure your progress as you work toward your goals. How will you know you are making progress?
- A: Your goals must be ATTAINABLE. This effectively means that you must wholeheartedly believe that you can achieve your goals.
- R: Your goals must be REALISTIC. Your goals are realistic when you have the time, money, resources, and skills needed to achieve the goal. If you lack in any of these areas, then you need to get to work or set a different objective.
- T: Your goals must be TIMED. You must set a deadline for the achievement of your goal. Without clear deadlines, you will likely succumb to procrastination and instant gratification.
Once you’ve defined what your goal is using the S.M.A.R.T. method it’s time to move on to Step 2: Finding Congruence. Nest week we will get into what this means and how it relates to real world goal setting.
Homework: Sit down and write out a list of goals that you have for this year. After that, pick one of them and define what it is you’re really trying to accomplish with that goal. Use the S.M.A.R.T. method to lay out how you’re going to tackle that goal in a time frame that is suitable for you.