Before we go on a trip, we get out the map, pick a destination (usually a National Park), and plan the route we will take. These are the steps we take to reach our destination. This is the same process when setting goals. Have a destination or goal in mind and follow that up with the directions, route or steps you will take. The answer to these questions can help in picking the destination:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why will accomplishing this goal be important?
- Are there intrinsic motivators?
- What do I want to see when I reach my goal?
There are so many suggestions about setting and achieving goals, sometimes it is hard to know where to start. As Steve Covey said, “start with the end in mind.” Goals provide you with a clearer focus on what is important. This focus can lead to clarity when making decisions and gives you a sense of control about your future.
A few years ago, I was certified in SMART Goals. Many of you have heard this acronym. SMART Goals can help you define your path and provide motivation. As a review, SMART Goals stands for:
- Being specific helps to clarify what you want to accomplish.
- I want to read a book a month instead of I want to read more.
- Tracking progress to see movement.
- I will read 10 pages in my book each night as an example.
- Keeping it realistic and attainable. Looking at your current resource and what is in your power to control.
- I want to gain the skills needed for this higher position vs. I want to get the new/higher position.
- Meshing your goals with other areas of your life.
- I can plant and care for a garden with my current travel schedule.
- Knowing the time frame and how long it will take.
- In the next 5 days, I will till my garden and get it ready for planting.
In addition to making your goals SMART, there are 3 ways to strengthen the possibility of success.
- Find someone who will help you and will tell you what you need vs what you want to hear. Friends, family or colleagues are options for people who will participate with you.
Example: Meet a friend for a walk, select a coach to give you feedback.
- Develop rewards when certain milestones have been reached.
Example: Take a bike ride, take kids to get ice cream, take a day off.
- Make adjustments along the way to help get back on track. Learn from your trails and make tweaks.
Example: I did not learn to crochet by reading that book. I will look for a video online for directions.
Setting goals gives you a sense of purpose in life. It helps to define where you want to go and the steps you will need to take. It gives you direction. What goals have you set for the next 3 months?