Achieve Your Goals #1 - Foundation
Are you frustrated by goals or projects that you’ve started and not finished?
The foundation to achieving goals starts with a question: Is this goal actually achievable?
Maybe you think this question sounds stupid. You would be shocked by the number of clients that come to us with unachievable goals.
No wonder they’re unhappy and feel they’re not getting anywhere!
Here is an example of an unachievable goal that I’ve heard this week:
I want to get in shape.
You might think this goal look good, that it is a noble aspiration. And you are right. It is an aspiration, but it is not a goal.
How will this person know when she is in shape?
When I prodded this client, I got responses such as, "I’ll know it when it happens," or "I’ll know it when I feel good and empowered."
You do NOT want to base the completion of a goal on your feelings!
Think about it. Your feelings change. You could work out every day for a year, substantially gain strength and endurance, but if you have low self-esteem or a distorted body image, you will still feel like you are ‘not in shape.’
The first step in achieving your goal is to make sure that it is objectively achievable. We’ll do this today by rewriting the goal or aspiration into a SMART Goal. The SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Please, write down one of your current goals right now and tweak it to make it SMART.
Specific means ‘narrow it down.’ Instead of calling your goal, ‘I want to get in shape,’ think of some action that would show that you are in shape. For example, ‘run a mile in 7 minutes’ or ‘do 20 push ups’ or whatever ‘in shape’ means to you.
Measurable means that you will objectively know when you have accomplished the task. It will not be based on your feelings. ‘Do 20 push ups’ is measurable, because if you are only able to do 11 push ups, you’ll know that you did not accomplish the goal, and when you hit 20 or 25, you will know that it is accomplished.
By the way, you will feel more motivated with a measurable goal, as you will know when you are making progress and how much nearer you are to your destination.
Achievable means that you will be able to do this goal in a reasonable amount of time. If you cannot even do one push up, perhaps making a goal of 50 push ups is not achievable or reasonable. Make your goal smaller (this is also a key to motivation). Start with 5 push ups.
Relevant means that the goal you have chosen is really moving you in the direction that you want to go. For example, if you want to run a mile in 7 minutes, joining a weekly tango class may not be totally relevant. Yes, it will improve your condition, but it may be too indirect to really move the needle in terms of what you want to accomplish.
Time-Bound means that there is a deadline. A deadline will be another way for you to keep track of your progress and truly know if you have achieved your goal.
I’m going to add one more letter here: Y. So now it is SMARTY.
The Y is for Yours. You are much more likely to achieve a goal, if it is something that you want to achieve and not something that someone else has put on top of you. You could also think of this Y as You, as in, it depends on you and is within your control.
So, if you haven’t done so already, rewrite one goal and make it a SMARTY.
Here is an example of a SMARTY Goal: My goal is to be able to run a mile in 9 minutes by April 1st.
Did rewriting your goal change anything for you? What did you realize as you analyzed your aspiration?
Next week, we’ll get deeper into the woods in goal setting and achievement.
The blog topic will be Define What Finished Looks Like, and after that we'll cover how to Reverse Engineer a Goal.