I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time. – Michael Phelps
There is a lot more to goal setting than just picking a goal and moving forward. While that is important, it’s also important to ensure that you are setting the right goals at the right time so that you can truly be successful. In order to ensure that you are setting the right goals for yourself, answer the following questions:
Are You Setting Specific and Realistic Goals?
It takes a little research to ensure that a goal is realistic. If you’re not sure if something is actually achievable then you’ve not done enough research. Once you’ve set a goal that is indeed realistic, then you need to be specific enough in your description of it so that it’s also easy to take the goal, and work backwards to create a schedule of actions needed to succeed. Need an example?
If you set a goal to make $125,000 on your products next year but your most profitable products brought in $25,000 this year and you have no new products in the pipeline, then that is probably not a realistic goal. If you have crunched the numbers and used your traffic data and you now know how many webinars, presentations or trade shows you need to participate in to get that done, then it becomes more realistic and attainable.
Here’s another example. You want to lose 30 pounds in 2 months. Is it attainable? Maybe – if you are really disciplined with your exercise and super strict with your diet. Is it realistic – probably not. The best way to set realistic goals is to work backwards. Maybe you can shoot for 1-2 pounds a week, so it’s more likely you could lose 8-16 pounds in those two months.
Are Your Goals Multifaceted?
Focusing on only one part of your life is a bad idea. People live multifaceted lives and need to make goals for all areas of their lives in order to feel accomplished. If you have a wonderful business and career but your personal life suffers, then no matter how successful you are, you will not feel successful. Something will always feel as if it’s missing from your life if your goals aren’t all inclusive. Therefore, make sure your goals include something from each aspect of your life. If you have a few different goals for the quarter or the year, try to incorporate multiple areas of your Core10, not just goals focused on business or relationships.
If you can knock out one goal that hits 2-3 different areas, you will feel like you have accomplished more at once (even if the majority falls in one area more than the other). If you create a goal to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, make a couple of those sessions a walk with your dog or kids. That way, you can incorporate spending more time with your family. When you are successful at that particular goal, you’ll be healthier, happier and have stronger relationships.
Is Your Scheduling Representative of Real Need?
Once you create the schedule for yourself to reach each goal that you’ve set, you need to consider if it represents reality. Say your goal is to be healthy and reduce your cholesterol by 10 percent in six months. But, you haven’t set aside the time needed to exercise and eat right. If you don’t schedule in the time needed, you won’t succeed because something will always be in your way taking time away from you. It will be very frustrating to practice your schedule because it’s not realistic.
For instance, going back to the 30 minutes a day for exercise, setting aside only 30 minutes isn’t realistic. You’ll probably need to set aside an hour to account for getting ready as well as cooling down or getting cleaned up to go back to work. Create buffers in your time when needed so that you don’t keep failing every time you try to work on your goals.
Are You Learning from Failure?
Many times when setting goals and schedules, instead of learning from failure, people give up. Using the example above, once you implement your schedule to reach the goals that you have set, when you notice there are things you’ve forgotten to take into account, don’t give up. Learn from the failure and change the schedule. If you hit a roadblock and realize your initial goal was a bit ambitious, don’t scrap it altogether, just adjust it to where it’s attainable and you can use your new numbers to make better estimates next time.
You might find that in practice you have to rewrite all your goals and your schedule, but this is perfectly acceptable. Many people believe failure is something negative, but the truth is, if you don’t fail sometimes you’re not going to learn much and it’s likely your goals are too easy.
Do Your Goals Represent Your Needs and Wants or Someone Else’s?
A lot of people set goals that represent what someone else wants instead of what they want. This can really cause a lot of bad feelings and resentment which can derail the best laid plans. As you set your goals for your life, ask yourself if they’re really what you want for yourself or what someone else wants for you. Ask yourself if you’re okay with any goal you make being for someone else before you embark on your journey.
It’s okay to do things because of someone else, but it’s important that you are honest about that and make some goals for yourself too that don’t involve anyone else’s needs or wants.
Are You Checking in Often to Stay on Track?
Schedules are very important to the success of reaching any goal in life. To do lists pale in comparison to a well laid out calendar of tasks and activities that get you from point “A” to point “B”. Ensure that you look at your schedule every morning and every night, and note when you succeed on sticking to your schedule and where you don’t. Noticing a pattern of activity can be helpful in fixing a poorly written schedule as well as staying realistic about whether or not you’re sticking to the plan.
Are Your Goals Focused Positively?
When writing a goal it’s important to write them in a positive way, or at least a way that feels positive to you. In the quest to improve your life, try writing down a goal and then changing the words to sound more positive to see if it isn’t more motivating. For instance, “losing weight” seems like a good goal, but for some people it might signify deprivation. So instead, the person might frame the goal as “improving my BMI by 10 points” or “improving my cholesterol by 10 percent.”
Do You Have Too Many Goals Set at One Time?
Just as setting too few goals can be a problem, so can setting too many. Everyone has a personal life and a career life and points in between. If you have set goals in too many areas at once, you might tire yourself out and get overwhelmed. Instead pick one personal goal, and one other type of goal to focus on until you reach them, and then you can add more goals as time goes on. You don’t need to do everything today. Slow and steady wins the race is a good motto to hang on to. I like to suggest one overarching goal for the entire year (for many people this is financial or health), and 1 or 2 smaller goals each quarter.
Setting the right goals for yourself takes some thought and consideration. Don’t try to set all your goals in one day – instead, set some goals in different stages and in different areas of your life and give a lot of thought to why you’re making the goal in the first place. Have you already planned your 2020 goals? Let me know what’s on your list!