Why Most Goal Setting Fails
1. Wish List and Cross Your Fingers
You can not simply write down a list of wants, stick it a drawer and wait around for your life to change.
2. Clear as Mud
Your goals have to be crystal clear. You have to give clear instructions to your brain in order for it to see and 'draw' into your life what you need to accomplish your goals. Just lie the combination on a lock, the digits in a phone number or an ATM cod, if the instructions are off by only one digit, they won't work.
3. All Talk
Proclaiming your goal is just the starting point. Now you have to actually draw a map for exactly how you are going to get there and define the resources you'll need to arrive safely.
4. Houston We Have a Problem
You must have your own command and control system to keep on track along your journey into the unknown.
5. Lack of Reinforcements
Don't forget the support and guidance of people and resources you will need along the way.
How Can I Successfully Achieve my Goals?
The first step to successfully achieving your goals is to carefully define them, says Terri Babers, MA, CPC, an independent certified coach, teacher and speaker based in Fairbanks, Alaska. “A mistake people often make is jumping in and setting goals without clearly understanding why. You need to think about the benefits of achieving these goals and how you are going to feel when you accomplish them.”
How do I set a SMART Goal?
1. Make it Specific
Once you have a goal in mind, define it in as much detail as possible. Think about the who, when, what, where, and why of each goal, and weigh the cost of achieving those parameters.
Instead of a general goal like “lose weight,” I narrowed it down to: Lose 15 pounds by working out after work three times a week. To do this, I need to commit four hours in my weekly schedule for this new activity, which will result in looking and feeling great for my upcoming high school reunion.
2. Make it Measurable
Define exactly how you will measure your progress in reaching your goal. For example, since my goal is to lose 15 pounds, I’ll weigh myself every morning to see how I’m doing. For my goal to do more yoga, I’ll mark the days I go to yoga on my calendar with a big X, so I can chart my progress throughout the month.
3. Make it Attainable
Try to set goals that are just a little out of your comfort zone, but still realistic, suggests Babers. “Don’t set yourself up for failure, which can lead to guilt, shame, and regret,” she says. By figuring out if you have the energy, focus, and time to achieve each goal, you can avoid setting the bar too high.
Instead of just trying to “eat better,” my goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables. Because of my fairly regular hamburger cravings, I know trying to go vegetarian is not achievable. A more realistic way of hitting my goal is to incorporate more smoothies, salads, and veggie stir-fries into my diet.
4. Make it Relevant
To figure out the right goals to put on your “to do” list, Babers says you also need to decide what’s on your “not to do” list. Goals need to be personal and geared toward what works for you. Running may be a great way to lose weight for some people, but I hate to run. I like the idea of feeling accountable to a trainer, so that’s a better fitness/weight-loss option for me.
5. Make it Timely
Define a date by which you’ll accomplish your goals and set milestones along the way. To track my weight-loss progress, I’m aiming to lose two pounds a week over the course of seven and a half weeks. At the same time, it’s also important not to give yourself toomuch time to accomplish a goal so you don’t get bored or lose focus.
Think carefully about what you want to accomplish before you formulate your SMART goals — setting yourself up for success should be the first goal on your list.