What is a goal?
The definition of a goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. In other words, if you have made any plans for the future, you’ve created goals.
The Importance of Setting Goals
Knowing the importance of setting goals and how to create goals that work is what sets apart the successful people from the rest. You’ll be hard pressed to find a successful businessperson that didn’t get there without setting goals.
Not only do you need to set goals, but you need to know how to do it in a meaningful way. But I digress. We’ll get to that later. For now, let’s focus on why you need to set goals.
1. Goals help you overcome procrastination. Have you ever said to yourself, I want to start a new business, but then never came up with a goal or a plan on how to get there? Did you ever start that business? Now imagine you came up with a goal that mapped out how you would start a new business. See how creating goals help?
2. Goals give you focus. Goals help give you direction with your life. They tell you where to focus your energy and talents.
3. Goals tell you what you really want in life. You would never create a goal for something you didn’t even want. Our goals tell us what we value and what we want out of life.
4. Goals make the impossible seem possible. Just like our example in number one, if you wanted to start a new business, that might seem downright impossible. BUT if you break that goal down into smaller, more obtainable goals, you’ll have your business started in no time. You will have chopped that big goal into smaller goals that seem possible.
5. Goals give you motivation. Setting a goal will give you a final destination to focus on and motivate you to put your blinders on and do what you have to do to get there.
6. Goals help us to believe in ourselves. Once you complete a goal, you start to really believe in yourself and want to keep going. Goals give us the confidence we need to dream big.
The Best Way to Create a Goal
When you set goals, you need to be S.M.A.R.T about it (see what I did there?). By using the S.M.A.R.T method, you will create goals that align with what you want.
S. Specific. When thinking about your goal you want to be as specific as possible. Instead of saying I want to lose weight, you could say I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months.
M. Measurable. Creating measurable goals breaks it down even further into what you will see, hear, and feel when you reach that goal. For example, when I lose 10 pounds in 2 months, I will have more energy and feel better. I will only eat 1300 calories a day and workout 30 minutes 3 times a week.
A. Attainable. You never want to create a goal that is something you’ll never be able to achieve. You want the goal to be a little out of your comfort zone, but something that is doable. Creating a goal and failing at it does not do anything for your self-confidence.
R. Relevant. Is the goal relevant to what you want? Do you have the skills to achieve this goal? Do you even want to reach this goal? If you don’t like high stress, you wouldn’t want to create a goal to be an executive of a large corporation.
T. Timely. Put a deadline on your goal. Like in the example above, I will lose 10 pounds in 2 months. Time is money, baby!
How to Stay on Track
Once you create a goal using the S.M.A.R.T method, you need to make sure you stay on track. Often times we come roaring out of the gate to only lose momentum when the going gets tough. If you come up with ways to stay on track and anticipate problems, you’ll know how to handle them when they pop up.
1. Don’t focus on too many goals at once. Sometimes we decide we want to change all the things at once. Doing this only makes us feel overwhelmed and we will eventually quit.
2. Write it out. Actually write out your goals with pen and paper. Writing them down makes them real. This will also give you something tangible to refer to along the way.
3. Celebrate milestones. It’s so important to celebrate those small wins we accomplish along the way to our big goals. For example, you set a goal to lose 10 pounds in 2 months. Celebrate weekly losses as well. It will give you the motivation to keep going.
4. Set milestones. If you’ve created a really big goal, break the big goal down into smaller goals, or milestones. Sometimes a really big goal will overwhelm us and seem like we will never attain it. Setting milestones also helps to break down the way to the big goal, giving us a clear path to take.
5. Track your goal. Don’t just say I want to save $1000 in 4 months and forget to track your progress. It’ll be month 4 before you know it and you’ve only put back $300. By looking at your goal weekly, for example, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to save to get to your goal. You could say I need to save $250 a month, or even $62.50 a week to reach this goal.
If you’re new to goal setting, try using this method outlined above and start small. Pretty soon, you’ll be hooked on creating and reaching goals. You’ll start to witness just how important they are to propel you forward to live the life you want.
Have you created a goal using the S.M.A.R.T method and succeeded? What did you learn along the way? We’d love to hear the lessons you learned!