8 Steps for Setting Smarter Goals For 2017
Tired of going through the same useless rigmarole every year? Setting goals and resolutions in January, only to abandon them by February? Lose weight, exercise more, live your dream, spend more time with family, save more money, get a better job, be a better person, you name it. Wouldn’t it be nice to end every year with the feeling that you’ve accomplished something? Well, have I got a plan for you. To kick off the new year, I’m writing a series on goal attainment and just the right steps to keep you motivated all year long.
You’ve probably heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals before, and there are a variety of words used to complete this acronym, but usually, the first two steps are assumed, and the final step is overlooked. Without these steps, it’s nearly impossible to stay motivated long enough to succeed.
First off, set fewer goals, and each one should meet these standards:
I – Introspective. This is the second step, and probably the hardest because it requires you to take a brutally honest look at what you’re most dissatisfied with right now, and what you want to change most.
S – Specific. Be as specific as possible. In other words, instead of just saying you want to lose weight, set a specific amount – say, 10, 50, 100, or as many as you need to attain your dream.
M – Measurable. Weight is easy enough to measure. You’re either losing it or not. Becoming a better person overall, however, might not be so easy to measure. We’ll talk about ways to measure your goals, no matter how seemingly intangible, in a later post.
A – Attainable/Achievable. Other words that could be used here are “reasonable” and “realistic.” This goes back to the second step (Introspective). For instance, if you’re 5’10’ with a medium to large frame, and your present weight is 200lbs., it’s unrealistic and very likely unhealthy to expect to lose 100lbs. Think of this step as not only can it be done, but should you do it.
R – Relevant. How badly do you want or need to achieve this goal? How will it help you in other areas of your life?
T – Time-based. Include time markers in your goal, i.e., I will walk half a mile three days a week starting tomorrow, and increase the distance to one mile three days a week by the end of the month (specific date here). Setting up regular checkpoints (micro goals) along the way helps with motivation, and keeps the goal from overwhelming you before you reach your big goal (macro goal).
Now for the step that is almost always overlooked, I’ll call step eight visualization. Starting at the very beginning of this journey, make a regular practice (at least 2 times a day) of visualizing yourself experiencing success. For instance, picture yourself walking two miles four days a week without breathing heavily or breaking a sweat. Envision what you are wearing, how you feel, and notice the way your body glides along effortlessly. You are a powerful, beautifully-made machine!
Sample macro goal: I will walk two miles four days a week by May 1, 2017.
This is a short intro, so check back for more in-depth posts about each of these steps and share your thoughts and experiences below. Happy 2017!