You’re ready? You’re set? Go forward to achieve your goals! Wait….you need a plan. You need a SMART plan to reach your goals. Creating a plan to reach your goals takes them out of the wish list mode to commitment of accomplishing them. Would you drive cross country without a map? Would you embark on a trip without any planning? Would you get in your car and expect to arrive across the country without any planning? No, of course not. If you want to arrive at your destination with success, you must have a plan. The same is true for your goals. Make your goals SMART with a plan.
Setting goals is a powerful process for success. The process of setting goals provides direction and insight. Establishing goals helps you choose where you want to go in your life. Whether you have weight loss goals, personal, or professional goals, making a plan is essential for you to achieve them. It is not enough to think about them, floating around in your head without any foundation. You need to write them down and develop a plan with strategies for success in reaching your goals.
Create categories to organize your goals. Examples of categories are Personal, Career, Education, Family, Health/Fitness, Financial, and Self Improvement. Next, list your goals in the respective categories.
In creating your goals, make them S.M.A.R.T!
S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Attainable, R=Realistic, T=Timeframe.
SPECIFIC – A specific goal rather than a general, broad goal. A general goal would be to “Exercise.” A specific goal would be “Join a gym and workout three days a week.” Another example of a general goal would be “Drink water.” A specific goal would be “Drink 64 ounces of water throughout the day.” List the goal in detail. List your goal in a way that you can check off the steps you’ve accomplished in order to achieve it.
MEASURABLE – Create milestones for measuring your progress toward the accomplishment of each goal. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, remain focused, reach your target dates, and motivate you to reach your goal. By making it measurable, you have a sense of accomplishment as you move forward in your progress. An example is to “Join a gym and workout three days a week” by indicating on your calendar the three days you worked out. Another example is to keep track daily of each eight ounce glass of water you drink. If your goal is to eat three meals a day and two planned snacks, either list the foods in your eating for that day or check off “Meal 1, Meal 2, Meal 3, Snack 1, Snack 2.” One good day of achieving your daily success creates momentum for the next day and the next, etc.
ATTAINABLE – Make sure that your goals are attainable so you can determine ways to achieve them. If a goal is attainable, once you define the goals and details to get there, you start to develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and the steps you need to take to obtain success to reach your goals. If your goals are unrealistic or overwhelming, you won’t be excited and enthusiastic to begin to accomplish them. If your goals are attainable, you move closer and closer to accomplish your desired goal outcome. A cycle of momentum and success will be created.
REALISTIC – A realistic goal must represent an objective that you are willing and able to work on. Every goal should be something you can visualize yourself reaching. In goal setting, if you can’t see it, then it is difficult to achieve it. If you believe you can reach your goal, then it can be accomplished. See yourself accomplishing your goal by practicing visualing success. If it is a weight loss goal, shut your eyes and visually see yourself standing on the scale and seeing your goal weight. Visualize yourself shopping, picking up a certain clothing size or style, trying it on and it fits you beautifully. If you have a fitness goal, such as participating in a competitive walk/run, visualize the finish line. See yourself approaching it, throwing your arms up as you reach and cross over it.
TIMEFRAME – A goal should be defined within a certain period of time. Without a time frame associated with a goal, there is no sense of when you will reach your goal. Give your goal a deadline so you can work toward accomplishing your goal. If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight, when do you want to lose it by? If you leave your deadline open-ended as in “someday”, you do not have a sense of when you will achieve your goal. If you ground it within a time frame, “by September 1st, then you’ve already put into motion accomplishing your goal. Don’t leave your timeframe as open ended. Create the commitment and dedication to your goal by giving yourself a timeframe. State your goal to create ways to enjoy your success.
Other helpful tips in setting your goals:
1. Write your goals in a journal or in a special place so you can see them. Marking them in an organized manner allows you to note your progress or fine tune your goal as you work toward it.
2. Share your goals or post them as a reminder for is a good way to help you get and stay on track with those things most important to you. As an example, put notes of your goal on your bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, in your car, or at your desk.
3. Write your goal as a positive statement. Express your goals in an affirming manner. Reflect your goal in an empowering way. For example, I won’t keep junk, snack foods in my desk drawer. Instead, I will keep healthy foods in my desk drawer.
4. If you have multiple goals, assign priorities to each of them. By prioritizing your goals, you avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals. Prioritization of goals also keeps you focused on the ones most important to you.
5. Organize your goals. Organize them in a way that allows you to feel in control rather than a long wish list. Some categories could be Health, Fitness, Organization, Time Management, and Financial.
Goal setting also serves as an important way to:
*Choose what is important for you to achieve and accomplish in your life.
*Focus on your own personal priorities of what you desire in your life.
*Keep you motivated and inspired in a positive mode of self-improvement.
*Build your self-confidence and self-esteem based on the successful achievement of reaching your goals and making them a reality in your life.
When you have achieved a goal, congratulate yourself. Celebrate your accomplishment and achieving your goal. Take the time to enjoy reaching your goal and the steps you took to get there! Fully feel the fulfillment in your success. Reflect on the progress you made towards your goal reached and how you can apply the same persistence and determination to other goals. Embrace the self-confidence and self-esteen you have in mapping out your journey to set goals and the destination you feel of accomplishment and achievement. YOU DID IT!