It is officially that time of year where people make New Year's resolutions. Have you ever made a resolution that you soon forgot about? Or simply didn’t achieve? If your answer is "yes", then don’t worry, you’re not alone. Goal setting can be extremely powerful. A goal can provide us with focus, drive, and purpose as we go about our daily routines. It can also empower us and give us a target to strive for. But, if the goal isn't structured and clear it can easily fall apart. So, before you set your goals for 2017, reflect on where you are right now.
First, think about you in your current state of affairs: What are you loving about life right now? What are you grateful for? What things in your life are not serving you right now? (For example: poor diet, stress, toxic friendships.). And what are you currently doing to stay physically and mentally healthy?
Second, look forward: What are some key areas in your lifestyle you would like to improve this year? And, why is working towards better, more healthy lifestyle important for you?
Third, Think about the why? Big goals require you to dig deep! So, take the time to think about your answers. If you don’t have a strong enough why? (a reason to achieve our goals) you may not keep going when things get tough.
Those who have a ‘why’ can bear with almost any ‘how’. – Viktor Frankl
Once you have figured out why you want to achieve your goal, then you can begin to build it and give it structure. Creating a S.M.A.R.T. goal is the simplest and easiest way to give a goal structure. Here's how it works:
(S.M.A.R.T. stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.)
1. Think about a Specific goal you have. Don’t be vague! Be clear with yourself on exactly what you want. No kinda, sorta's here! “I want to be more active” is vague, but “I want to run a 5K is under 30 minutes”, or "I want to start working out at least 3 days a week" is specific.
2. Make sure you can Measure your progress. Set a goal you can measure with numbers (quantitative). If you can measure your progress you can see yourself getting closer to that goal! This is motivating and keeps you moving forward.
3. Set a goal that is Achievable. Your goal should definitely challenge you but still be achievable, meaning: you possess the skills and knowledge to attain your goal.
4. Your goal must also be Relevant to you. Your goal must matter to you and be aligned with your values! If your goal doesn’t match your core values you probably won’t connect with it enough to see it through; which may be for the best.
5. Give your goal a Time frame. Every goal should have a time frame attached to it. One of the strongest aspects of a great goal is that it has an end—when do you want to accomplish it? Creating a time frame can help let you know if you’re on track as well.
Finally, your goal must INSPIRE you! If you’re not inspired by the thought of not only achieving your goal, but going through the process of achieving it, then what is it all for? This is where finding the why comes in. Find out what motivates you, why would it matter to reach your goal, and How you would feel if you never reached it. If it doesn’t get you excited then you need to discover a goal that will!
So dig deep, brainstorm, and then grab a pen and paper, write down your goal using the S.M.A.R.T. Goal principles, and put it on the fridge or on your bathroom mirror as a reminder!
Happy New Year and Happy Goal Setting!