Are You Setting the Right Goals for Yourself?
With just a few days left of this year, you still have time to make new goals for 2022. Setting the ‘right’ type of goals can actually determine your success in reaching them or, at the very least, working on them consistently.
Setting and writing your goals is what will get you started and keep you going. This allows you to do the most important part – preparation, meaning you have all plans and resources ready so starting is easy. Most people set goals and then dive in but do not have the necessary plans and steps needed. As most people lose their goal within the first 30 days, having the right goals will get you going.
There is a lot more to goal setting than just picking a goal and moving forward; it’s also important to ensure that you are setting the right goals at the right time so that you can truly be successful. In order to ensure that you are setting the right goals for yourself, answer the following questions:
Are You Setting Specific and Realistic Goals?
When you set goals that are specific, or crystal clear, there is no room for confusion on starting or going to make them a reality. Clarity guides you so you know exactly what to do.
It takes a little research to ensure that a goal is realistic. If you’re not sure if something is actually achievable then you’ve not done enough research. Goals should not be too high, contrary to the ‘thinking big’ premise we hear regarding goals setting, unless you’ve studied on the end-goal and the feasibility of it happening; likewise, they should not be too low or the motivation won’t be there. Think of it as not setting yourself up for failure.
Once you’ve set a goal that is indeed realistic, then you need to be specific enough in your description of it so that you can work backwards to create a schedule of actions needed to succeed, aka Everest Goals. Working backwards, as if you’ve already achieved the goals, allows the brain to tap into all of the steps needed (“how did you make ______ happen?”); this does not put pressure to create and can allow for more ideas to flow.
Are Your Goals Multifaceted?
People live multifaceted lives and need to make goals for all areas of their lives in order to feel successful. If you have a wonderful business and career but your personal life suffers, then no matter how successful you are, you will not feel successful. Something will always feel as if it’s missing from your life if your goals aren’t inclusive. Therefore, make sure your goals are included from each aspect of your life.
Areas to focus on include:
- Career – Fun/Recreation
- Money – Fitness/Health
- Spiritual/Personal Growth – Hobbies
- Relationships (family, friends, intimate) – Physical Environment
Are You Learning from Failure?
Many times when setting goals and schedules, it’s important to learn from past failures, or why goas were not reached; if this step is not considered it is easy to give up too soon. Reflect on why you set the goal in the first place, then why you did not follow through, or why your motivation stopped. Was the goal too big or too small, did you not have the resources or support, were you doing the goal out of need or want, or because someone told you to – these will help you to identify the ‘failure.’
Once you uncover lessons from the past, you can write out the steps needed and set a schedule to reach the goals that you have set; when you notice there are things you’ve forgotten to take into account, don’t give up. Learn from the failure and change the schedule to be more realistic.
You might find that in practice you have to rewrite all your goals and your schedule over and over, but this is perfectly acceptable – there is no right or wrong, just what feels doable for you. Many people believe failure is something negative, but the truth is, if you don’t fail sometimes you’re not going to learn much and it’s likely your goals are too easy.
“Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success” (author unknown)
Do Your Goals Represent Your Needs and Wants or Someone Else’s?
A lot of people set goals that represent what someone else wants, or what they think they ‘should’ do, instead of what they want. This can really cause a lot of negative feelings and resentment and can derail the best laid plans. As you set your goals for your life, ask yourself if they’re really what you truly want for yourself or if it’s what someone else wants for you. Ask yourself if you’re okay with any goal you make being for someone else before you embark on your journey. For example, you may not want to take a second job but will do so to make more money for your children’s karate class.
It’s okay to do things because of someone else, but it’s important that you are honest about that and make some goals for yourself too that don’t involve anyone else’s needs or wants, or resentment later on. From a motivational standpoint, goals that are born from inside are the ones that will drive you to complete them.
Are You Checking in Often to Stay on Track?
Schedules are very important to the success of reaching any goal in life; having a ‘feedback’ system will keep you on track. To-do lists pale in comparison to a well laid out calendar of tasks and activities that get you from point “A” to point “B”. Ensure that you look at your schedule every morning and every night and note when you succeed on sticking to your schedule and where you don’t; knowing your most productive times will lead you to maximize the most of your day.
Setting a desired time-limit to complete the goal helps to schedule and keep on track, such as having daily or weekly tasks; working backwards helps with this type of scheduling. Using a large wall calendar or white board, and marking task completions each day, gives accountability, not to mention the benefit of elevating your confidence and sense of accomplishment.
Are Your Goals Focused Positively?
When writing a goal it’s important to write them in a positive way, so they are compelling. Be more firm in the tone and intent – not using ‘I want’ but ‘I will” or “I choose” (the best) to’ pushes the brain towards a solution. For instance, I want to find a new job sounds like a good goal, but it’s very vague and can even elicit a fear of some kind. So instead, the person might frame the goal as “I will research 5 companies who are hiring in my field’ or “I will send out 3 resumes this week.’
Go-up goals are often more compelling, such as a new position or making more money; versus give up goals, where you are changing a habit, such as smoking or losing weight. Better health and breathing easier sounds more motivating than giving up cigarettes. The more positive the goal is written, the more the brain will seek out solutions until achieved.
Do You Have Too Many Goals Set at One Time?
Just as setting too few goals can be a problem, so can setting too many. Everyone has a personal life and a career life and points in between. If you have set goals in too many areas of life at once, you might tire yourself out and get overwhelmed. Instead pick one personal goal, and one other type of goal to focus on until you reach them, and then you can add more goals as time goes on. You don’t need to do everything today. Slow and steady wins the race is a good motto to hang on to – remember the tortoise and the hare.
Setting the right goals for yourself takes some thought and consideration. Don’t try to set all your goals in one day – instead, set some goals in different stages and in different areas of your life and give a lot of thought to why you’re making the goal in the first place. Start with one, as suggested above and go from there, using the steps above. The key is to start – doing so will start the new year off right and get you in forward motion.
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