5 Steps for Setting Great Goals
I've always thought that goal setting on January 1st was a bit funny. I don't mean the goal setting, of course, but the specific date. I'm not the only one, right? While I understand the appeal (I am incredibly organized and that part of me loves the simplicity and symmetry) I always wondered what the point was of waiting as many as 11 months just to start a new habit. And yet, despite knowing better, I tend to wait for special dates to review and reiterate my goals. So sue me! Entering a new year of life seems like as good a time to remind myself of what I'm striving for as any, and since I recently had a birthday, I've had goals on the brain. Here are my 5 steps to setting great goals (and a fun freebie)!
STEP ONE: Don't Make Too Many
Too many goals can make it far too easy to get overwhelmed and give up on everything. We don't want that to happen! Five seems to be the perfect number according to studies on productivity, with seven as the maximum you want to focus on at one time. Start by brainstorming all of the things you'd like to improve on or achieve and then narrow it down to the few that REALLY get you excited. The more passionate about something you are, the harder you'll work to make it happen. If a goal doesn't light a fire in you, it's not the right thing to spend your time and effort on. Think about it and tweak it until it really gets you going!
STEP TWO: Remember to be SMART
The SMART method of goal setting has become well known, for good reason. Following these guidelines will help you make effective goals that you can actually accomplish!
- S - SPECIFIC. The more general a goal, the less likely you are to achieve it. Spend some time thinking about your goal and determining what it is in particular that is the most important part of it to you, and focus on that. You want to be really clear about what you want! Bad: "Start a blog." vs Better: "Start a blog called Plant Based Bride about veganism, wedding planning, and living a plant based lifestyle."
- M - MEASURABLE. You don't want to be left wondering whether or not your goal was achieved. Quantify what success means to you for this particular goal so that you know what you're striving for, exactly! Bad: "Lose weight." vs Better: "Lose 10 pounds."
- A - ATTAINABLE. Do you have control over what you're trying to do? If the goal isn't in your power don't waste your time and energy on it. Is it doable and reasonable? Don't make it too hard to achieve, this will make you feel defeated from the beginning, but remember that it's also not a good idea to make it so easy that you aren't motivated by the idea of achieving it. Bad: "Make Stan fall in love with me." vs Better: "Ask Stan out on a date."
- R - RELEVANT. Relevance can be hard to determine. Ask yourself these questions to help: Is your goal applicable to where you are in your life right now? Is it worthwhile? Will it meet your needs? Does it bring you closer to your long term plans and is it consistent with the person you want to be and your other goals? Bad: "Memorize all of the presidents of the United States in chronological order." (for me, as a Canadian with no particular interest in American political history, this is an irrelevant goal.) vs Better: "Spend 15 minutes reading about the upcoming Canadian federal election every day."
- T - TIMELY. Deadlines are so important. Without one, a goal is just a dream. Make sure to pick the day by which your goal must be completed. It will establish a sense of urgency, causing you to manage your time better and work on your goal daily! Bad: "Learn to do a backflip." vs Better: "Learn to do a backflip by February 1st, 2016."
STEP THREE: Write Them Down
Make sure to write down your goals and put them somewhere where you'll see them every day. Reviewing your goals often is so important to keep you on track and focused! When you write down your goal be sure to break it down into at least 3 small, actionable steps you can take towards achieving it. Each time you see your goal, ask yourself what the next step is that you can take to get that little bit closer!
STEP FOUR: Get Support
New research implies that telling people about your goals may make you less likely to achieve them, as your mind associates the pleasure it gets from recognition from others with being closer to reaching your goal than you actually are. With that in mind, if you need support, don't hesitate to ask for it. Whether it's your spouse, your best friend, or someone you meet on the internet, asking for help isn't failure. Getting advice and learning from others' experiences when you need to is simply the smart thing to do!
STEP FIVE: Take Small Steps Every Day
Don't just write down actionable steps, take those steps! Spend at least 5 minutes a day on working towards your goal. It's not the big things we do infrequently but the small things we do consistently that make the biggest impact!
Related Blog Post: How To Use A Bullet Journal To Stay Organized!
Use these 5 steps to set your goals and then get to work on achieving them! I created a couple printables to make your goal setting even easier. Get them for free when you sign up to the Plant Based Bride newsletter!
I purposefully made the printables unisex so that everyone can enjoy the power of smart goals without too much glitter or pink getting involved. (You're welcome, Jason.) I will try to get the link to your inbox as soon as possible, and within 24 hours at the most! Be patient with me as I am a one woman operation :)
Until next time...
What's your number one goal right now? Is there anything you do differently when goal setting that works for you? I'd love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments or on social media (@elizabethturn on instagram and twitter and Plant Based Bride on Facebook)!
Don't forget to subscribe to the Plant Based Bride newsletter so that you never miss a post and get your FREE goal setting printable pack made by yours truly!