Goal setting is a powerful tool. The process of thinking about your future, and motivating yourself to make it a reality is exciting but difficult. You’re developing a plan that you feel will help you accomplish your goals, but at the same time know you may have to make adjustments along the way. We wanted to help by exploring proven strategies to create goals for the future.
WHY SET GOALS
Those who are at the top of their field, be it a professional athlete, surgeon, or business owner, have made it by setting goals. When you create a goal, it gives you a long-term plan as well as short-term motivation. Many CEO’s and athletes who have written memoirs or biographies talk about the goals they set. Writing them down or using a vision board is often a part of their process.
Whether you’re setting goals for your career (such as moving up in your firm), your mental health or physical health (such as losing weight), your goals need to be SMART:
To successfully complete most goals, it’s important to know what you want, how to achieve it, and how to keep track of your progress. Setting SMART goals helps us do this. Let’s use a common, relatable goal as an example. Many of us have (at some point in time) set out to lose weight. A SMART weight loss goal might sound like this: “I want to lose 40 pounds by cutting out unhealthy snacks and exercising three times a week. I want to reach my goal by December 1, so I feel more comfortable and confident at holiday parties”.
This goal is:
SPECIFIC because you know exactly what you’re striving for.
MEASURABLE because you’ve quantified it with 40 pounds.
ATTAINABLE because you know what to do to make it happen.
RELEVANT because you have motivation with events you’re attending.
TIME-BOUND because you’ve given it a deadline of December 1.
This strategy is effective, no matter what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re struggling with addiction, learning a new skill, or building healthy habits, SMART goals are effective. It’s important you keep these attributes in mind, a SMARTstrategy increases your chances of success and helps you recognize when you’ve completed a goal, which is a wonderful feeling.
BIG VS SMALL GOALS
Some goals are extraordinary. Someone may want to lose 200 pounds. However, aiming to lose that much might feel impossible. That’s why experts agree that you should break down your goals into more attainable targets. This could mean losing 10 pounds by the end of the month, or dropping two sizes by Thanksgiving. The same could be said for exceptional career objectives. Instead of aiming to be the president of the company, aim to be promoted to the next position by the end of the year. Then develop a new plan to continue moving forward.
What’s nice about smaller goals is that you get to complete more of them, which gives you pride and confidence. It feels good to check something off your to-do list. It also gives you the opportunity to review your goals, and adjust your tactics.
When you’ve reached your goal, even if it’s just a smaller part of a bigger goal, you need to celebrate. Take the time to enjoy your progress and feel the satisfaction and self-respect. When you appreciate what you’ve accomplished, you’re more likely to set new goals or continue down the path to your larger goal.