We have all heard that the best way to go about setting goals and achieving them is with SMART goals. But if setting goals and achieving them were as simple as making them SMART, why aren’t more people achieving like crazy using this standard and often-repeated mantra?
Here is what this acronym leaves out about setting goals and achieving them:
Goals are a Messy Business. The process of setting goals and achieving them is a dirty one. Our plans fall apart, our self-confidence and pride get tested to the point of breaking, and more often than not, that glorious goal at the end of the rainbow starts to look a little less glorious once we’ve shed some blood, sweat, and tears. Go into the journey of setting goals and achieving them knowing that things won’t go awesome 100% of the time.
Don’t Repeat Your Mistakes. Seems like a no-brainer, but you would be amazed at how many people fall back into their old way of doing things. It’s not our fault—we are creatures of comfort and habit, even if those habits are bad. If you failed at getting that promotion you want, try a new approach. If that fails, try again until you find what works. Finding the right way to setting goals and achieving them is often a trial-and-error process. Painful, but it’s much faster than doing the same thing over and over.
Stay Away from Absurd Goals. These often fall into the “all-or-nothing” category. An example: “I am going to run 10 kilometers every single day.” This goal leaves no room for error or more importantly—life. What happens if you get sick? Injured? Have a social commitment that prevents you from being able to run? Setting impossible goals gives us a huge reason for failure shortly down the road.
Whether You Like it or Not, S*** is Going to Happen. In the process of setting goals and achieving them, we cannot plan for everything that happens. You can’t predict the weather, someone else’s feelings, or how the stock market is going to feel tomorrow. Realize that things will not always go your way—it’s how you react when that first obstacle comes hurtling down at you that ultimately matters.
Don’t Make Massive Changes Overnight. A frequently overlooked aspect to setting goals and achieving them is the fact that it takes time to mold ourselves into the person we want to be. Trying to change numerous bad habits in the blink of an eye is ambitious considering that it took years, possibly even decades to form those pesky habits, to begin with.
Avoid Publicizing Your Goal Till You Absolutely Know It’s What You Want. Before declaring to all of your friends, family, and neighbors that you are going to lose twenty pounds in the next two months make sure it is something you are absolutely going to follow through with. Try not to be one of those people who commonly talk about doing amazing things and never get around to doing them; instead, be that rare person who simply does them.
Don’t Wait. Ever. Putting off starting your goal, or the next step in your goal makes sure that you will never get to it. Procrastination is a polite way of saying you are not going to do it. If your goal means this much to you, there shouldn’t be a single, solitary reason for not acting now. The only thing standing between you and setting goals and achieving them is action.
How to focus and organize your life goals?
You’ve Got a Goal– Now What? You’ve taken the first major step in the goal setting process by outlining your goal. Hopefully you have created a goal that inspires you, that keeps you awake at night, that drives you with every breath that you take. So what comes next?
It’s time to take that goal and break it down into a series of manageable steps. Why is this necessary? Simple—because this goal is probably so fantastic, so amazing, that it is far off, barely visible in the horizon. It’s probably so far off, in fact, that it becomes daunting, almost to the point of being overwhelming.
What’s necessary at this point is to make this goal realistic, and bring it into the “now.” You can do this by outlining the series of steps that it will take for you to get from where you are today to where you want to be at the end of journey.
In other words, you are going to create your very own action plan. There are several important factors to keep in mind when building your plan:
Leave No Stone Unturned. Make your plan as detailed as you reasonably can. Set deadlines for the various roadposts in the journey. That being said, don’t go overboard with this part of the exercise by going into too much detail. Outline what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and what you need to complete it. Than move on.
Vary Your Plan of Attack. Give yourself as many options as possible to achieve your goal. Have back-up plans, and if you are feeling particularly ambitious, have back-up plans for those. For example, if you were wanting to lose weight, make sure that you have several different fitness regimens, several different diets in plan. When you have an array of options, you give yourself room to maneouver when the inevitable roadblock occurs. Also, by varying your plan of attack, you keep your mind and fresh and interested.
Make Sure Your Plan Begins with Something You Can Do Today. Having a goal plan is swell and dandy, but it is meaningless without the will to pursue it. Make the first step of your goal plan something that you can commence today, at this very moment. Doing this will infect you with the habit of taking action, and it will give you momentum into the next crucial few days. And no—just writing out the plan isn’t the first step in your journey. It has to be something that you act on.
Make a List of the Resources You Require. This could include money, equipment, a gym membership, some type of special education. You may need so much that it is overwhelming. Don’t be swallowed up by this needless panic; write out a list of exactly what you need, and slowly acquire everything on it.
Be Willing to Be Flexible With Your Plan. The fact is that you are constantly evolving as a person. The person we are today is not the same person we were yesterday. Your plan should be the same. It should evolve with you. This isn’t an excuse to give up, or to avoid hard work. Being flexible means that the end remains the same while the means is open to change where necessary.
Since when did goal setting become so difficult? If you believe most of the stuff you see online, it’s as simple as writing out what you want, making it measurable and all that, and off you go. Dreams achieved.
But that’s not what reality reflects, is it?
We set goals, have amazing intentions, and a belly full of desire, and for whatever reason, we give up or abandon the goal completely.
I cannot even begin to explain to you how mad this makes me.
Chances are good that presently you are going from goal to goal, trying as hard as you can to do it right, and being rewarded for your goal setting efforts with failure. Sometimes you’ll get halfway there if you’re lucky. Maybe you get sidetracked by new opportunities, don’t get the support you need, or realized things would be a lot harder than initially thought. The ways that we fail are mind-numbingly varied.
We’ve never met, but I would assume that it’s a reasonable bet that—
You have awesome things you want to achieve in your life.
Make Goal Setting Work for You in 4 Easy Steps
Your goals mean a great deal to you. These are things that you want to achieve more than anything in the world. At some point every success story you’ve ever heard of was at this standstill. Lost, staggering around trying to grasp at success and only finding disappointment and failure. The fact is, you have awesome plans for your life. And you know that goal setting can help you get there.
But you’re not totally sure how you are going to pull it off. In this article you are going to get a basic overview of goal setting, and at the end learn about an opportunity for you to take your goal setting to the next level.
Discover the Purpose in What You Want to Achieve. When we use goal setting more often than not we make shallow goals. What this means is that they don’t fill us with a great sense of desire or passion. As an example, let’s say you have a goal to become a lawyer. You want to do this because it is a great career. To give yourself the motivation and desire to go through with this, attach reasons for why you want to accomplish this that are bigger than you. Goal setting is infinitely more powerful when we make it bigger than ourselves.
Make Your Goal Finite. Now that you have purpose behind your goal, it’s time to pull it out of the clouds and plant it firmly in reality. This is where you stop day-dreaming and start figuring out what your future is actually going to look like. Continuing with the lawyer example, you would give yourself a date with which you plan to achieve your goal, as well as make the goal itself as specific as possible. “I choose to be a practicing criminal defense attorney by May, 2015.”
Construct a Roadmap. Once you have your specific goal, deadline, and the reasons behind it to keep you motivated long after today, it’s time to write down the steps or directions that are going to get you to your final destination. Break it down into steps or smaller goals as much as you can. The most important part of this principle lies in having a step that you can start with today. This will get you in the habit of acting and out of the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mindset many people are plagued with.
Be Open to Challenges. Almost every time someone fails at goal setting it is because they give up the first time they hit a roadblock. The most essential element of goal setting is having the mindset that setbacks will happen, and that no matter what, you will find a way around or through it. Failure is not when our plans don’t work out the way we hoped; failure is when we abandon our plans out of a misguided notion that they are faulty. Adjust, adapt, to wherever necessary to get you to your destination.
Goal setting is a proven and time-tested method to getting what you want from life. This overview is a good start—complete this huge first step in getting the life you want by getting your hands on the most complete goal setting book available.