Do you struggle with how to create and or write out a goal? Has year after year gone by and you “beat yourself up” for not accomplishing what you really want to accomplish? Are you stuck on the roller coaster of life and not focusing on what YOU really want?
What’s interesting is that most of us take more time in planning a vacation or a party than we do planning our futures! Regardless of what format you follow for creating goals…do something and put it in writing!
Proverb: “Wishing consumes as much energy as planning.”
So, if you are reflecting on 2022, wishing you had created a plan for 2022, wish no more for 2023! Instead do something different, create a plan. Below is a process on how to create a plan that will lead you to success with this year’s goals/commitments personally and professionally and be sure they are in alignment with the spirit and soul of who you are!
Proverb: “He, who fails to plan, plans to fail.”
You will plan one way or another, either in the moment (Reactive) or a well thought out plan for your future (Proactive,) it is a lot less stressful to be Proactive!
Create a Plan: I recommend to my coaching clients to use the SMART formula when creating a goal. There are many versions of the SMART Goal formula. Choose what has worked for you in the past or feels right for you this year!
S stands for Specific: This is the what and the how. What are you going to do? Use words such as: Create, Direct, Lead, Coordinate, Produce, Engineer and Organize. How are you going to do it? Use words such as: By, Through and With.
For example: “I want to lose weight.” This is too general. Be specific: “To lose weight by counting my calories eat and exercising every week.”
M stands for Measurable: This is where you will quantify your goal. If you can’t measure it, you will not be able to achieve it! Use measures such as: Numbers, Dates, Hours, Minutes and Steps.
For example: “I want to lose 10 pounds by May 1st, 2023 by exercising 4 days a week and eating 1200 healthy calories per day.”
A stands for Attainable and Action Oriented: Quote by Peter Drucker: “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hope, but no plans.” Will you truly be committed to and passionate about this goal? Is this something you are willing to work at to make happen? What would be some of the roadblocks you may come across? Do you believe you can do it? Look for the mental blocks that may hold you back! Is this goal really do-able? Do you have the skills, knowledge, and resources to accomplish this goal? There is a balance between stretching and challenging yourself to attain a goal and making it extreme and impossible to accomplish!
What are the Action Steps you will take now to start working towards this goal? List out the action steps required to complete this goal.
For example (building on the statement above): “I want to lose 10 pounds by May 1st, 2023 by exercising 4 days a week and eating 1200 healthy calories per day.” Adding Attainable: “I will lose 10 pounds by May 1st, 2023 through exercising 4 days a week and eating 1200 healthy calories per day and by hiring a health coach to hold me accountable and break through barriers.”
R stands for Relevant and/or Realistic and/or Risk: What is the purpose of this goal? Is this goal in alignment with your personal and professional mission statement or values? Relevancy is the authenticity check to be sure the goal is in alignment with who you are and what is important to you. Is this goal relevant to your vision? Is it harmonious, compatible, and congruent with you and your purpose in life? Is it pertinent to your big picture goals and values?
For example (continuing to build on the goal above): “I will lose 10 pounds by May 1st, 2023 through exercising 4 days a week and eating 1200 healthy calories per day and by hiring a health coach to hold me accountable and break through barriers.” Adding Relevant: “I will lose 10 pounds by May 1st, 2023 through exercising 4 days a week and eating 1200 healthy calories per day and by hiring a health coach to hold me accountable and break through barriers. This goal is in alignment with my core value of living a healthy lifestyle.”
Is this goal Realistic? Meaning: % of growth/increase, amount of time to complete, reasonable goal and do I have the resources?
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward
Is there Risk involved? Change occurs when there is risk involved! Are you stretching yourself and or your team?
T stands for Timely: Without a time, commitment, we will tend to procrastinate! A clearly defined time frame creates structure and urgency; it gives us a reason to take action…now! Have a beginning, an end and landmarks to target along the way to keep the momentum going.
For Example (completing the statement above): “I will lose 10 pounds by May 1, 2023 through exercising 4 days a week, for 45 minutes and eating 1200 healthy calories per day and by hiring a health coach to hold me accountable and break through barriers. This goal is in alignment with my core value of living a healthy lifestyle.”
That is a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely Goal!
Robert Louis Stevenson said: “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Sometimes you may have a day or brief time period where you “derail” from your goal. Don’t feel defeated! Just start again, day by day, step by step. You will reach your goals! The most difficult step is the first step! Sometimes, you will find it difficult to get started on the goal. Set time aside each day or week or month, to keep that goal moving forward, even if it is just 15 minutes a week! Those 15 minutes will add up and slowly you will see the goal moving and your seeds starting to take root!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu
You will quickly realize if the SMART goal is truly in alignment with your values. If it is not, you will not be motivated and the energy you have at the start will dwindle and burn out quickly. Then, you must re-evaluate the goal and go through the process again to find out which piece is not in alignment with you and your values and rewrite the goal or perhaps let it go. Don’t be afraid to say, this is the wrong goal or wrong time for this goal. Goals are good for the soul so keep your soul happy!