It’s that time of year that I see a lot of people refocus and set some goals. I see some great goals made and achieved throughout the year, and some that don’t happen. What I want to do is get you a few tips on setting your goals. If you have set a new goal for 2015, that’s great! But go back to it and see if it, fits this criteria to set yourself up for success.
Specific – Goals are not vague statements, like “I want to pay off debt” or “I want to get into shape.” We really need to sit down and hone into what it is we want to do. “I want to pay off my 10,000 car loan,” or “I want to drop 10pounds, 2 pant sizes, and 2 inches on my waist.” Just because they are specific, doesn’t mean they need to be some great big crazy thing.
Measurable – Goals need to be able to be measured and tracked. This helps you know how you are progressing and where you are at in achieving your goal. We can track how much debt we pay off each month on a spreadsheet, or we can do some measurements each and every month to see how we are progressing on our fitness goals.
Achievable – Once you believe something, it’s achievable. But if you don’t think you can do it, you can’t. So, this must be something that you believe that you can achieve, or it won’t happen. Also, this means that it needs to be attainable by you and not anyone else. Your weight loss goal or debt goal doesn’t rely on anyone else for your success. It’s a personal thing…you can’t assign your goal to someone else. The easiest way to look at this is: I want my friend to drop 10lbs, 2 inches, etc. You can’t assign a goal to someone else unless they work for you and you are a team. Even then, it is best to have them make their own goals, as their goals will mean more to them and are more likely to happen.
Realistic – Pretty straight forward here, but basically, I want to drop 50lbs, and I only weigh 195 and don’t have 50lbs to lose in a healthy manner. That being said, goals should stretch you a little bit. They shouldn’t be completely comfortable. They need to be a reach that can be attained with hard work, perseverance, and consistency.
Time Based – Goals need to have a deadline on them. They can’t be someday…because someday never happens. A deadline keeps us on track because we have to do it by a certain time. If we don’t have a deadline, we will float thru it with no focus or push to reach the goal.
These are some simple guidelines to write a more effective goal. But, do you want to know the secret to help you achieve the most? WHY! That one word has the most impact on achieving your goals in life. If you have a strong WHY about your goals, it will cause you to do uncomfortable things because they mean more to you.
Why is my mission to be debt free by Jan 1st 2018? Because I HATE HATE HATE seeing that I owe money to people. There is a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because I have quite a bit of student loans that I owe on. I feel irresponsible for getting my student loans that high when it wasn’t needed or the smart thing to do. I don’t want to burden my family, budget, or my life choices due to what I owe. Also, I want to have financial freedom for my son. I don’t want his choices or lack of choices to be due to my debt that I owe.
So whether you have written a goal already for 2015 or you haven’t, I hope these little things will help you make your goals even more effective. I look forward to you achieving your success!
Eric Peterson, MS, CSCS