The beginning point of any journey is deciding on the destination. A change to your behaviour, a desire to get healthier or maybe lose weight is no different. In order to make the most appropriate activity choices, maintain and reinforce motivation it is critical that you establish a clear goal.
By starting with this clearly defined desired outcome you have a solid basis for determining how to structure and progress your actions to ensure they are relevant and worthwhile.
Your goal setting process needs to both accurate and relevant to you. To assist in determining exactly what this goal should be, how to achieve it and where to begin, it can help to follow and/or check your goal against the points in the SMARTER acronym:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Relevant
T - Time Bound
E - Evaluated
R - Reviewed
Your goal needs to be clear and well defined. Vague goals are not helpful because they don’t provide you with sufficient guidance and direction and in order to be helpful.
Follow these simple steps:
Start with the big picture, the perfect world scenario. Write down what it is you want. Detail it looks like (colours and shapes are important), how it sounds or smells too if relevant.
Next detail how will you feel when you achieve it.
Next write down why this is important to you. What personal needs do you fulfil by achieving this goal? This step is fundamental so take your time and really think about what it is that is motivating you.
Now you have a detailed idea of big picture, next you need to break it down into smaller chunks. What steps do you need to complete in order to achieve this big picture? Each of these will form the goals you are going to work on.
At this stage you will need to consider the things you need to do and also the resources you need to have in place.
This process should assist you to identify a series of smaller steps, which are 100% specific to the achievement of your bigger goal.
One often overlooked but critically important aspect of detailing your vision is to ensure you write it as if you have skat achieved it. This 'future history' view reinforces that the events detailed in your vision are both relevant and achievable. Equally it positively frames your attitudes and perspectives for the future, stating and contracting with the universe that you have achieved these actions. One of the key drivers to goal achievement is that 'what you focus on is what you get'. If we select to focus our attention on the conclusion, we will begin to unconsciously position of behaviours to the determination of this reality. This doesn't mean there's not hard work ahead...it means we have placed the right energy and focus to the attraction of our specific vision.
NOW FOR EACH OF THE SMALLER GOALS YOU NEED TO ENSURE THE FOLLOWING:
Simply you need to establish how you will know when you have achieved your goal and determine a way of gauging your success along the way. Ensuring a goal is quantifiable and measurable the ideal way.
Often, this can be quite simple, for example a determined ideal body weight in kgs/lbs. However, some goals are less directly quantifiable and it may take some creativity in determining how you will best measure your success. It is however key that you are able to determine where you are in respect of that success, setting milestones and reviewing objectives accordingly.
It is important that the smaller goals you set are are both challenging and achievable. If you set a goal that you have no chance of achieving, it can destroy your motivation and confidence. Whilst it is important to understand the big picture goal, each individual smaller step should represent an achievable objective. The fundamental principle here is to ensure that it is in your power to accomplish the objective you have set.
It is however of equal importance that the individual goals should challenge you. Every step should contribute to you being closer to achieving your results. It is likely that a goal which is achieved without effort, commitment and perseverance will be of little ultimate benefit. You need to set goals that 'raise the bar' and ensure you move outside of your 'comfort zone'.
This is attached in part to the previous principle of specificity, your goal has to be relevant based on your big picture desire and realistic based on your current circumstances. The relevance of the goal is based on it meeting some key points:
Does it seem worthwhile?
Is it the right time to complete this?
Does it support other efforts undertaken?
Are you realistically capable and have the resources to currently complete this action?
Relevant goals are by their nature those which you can attain. They are routed in the pragmatic. Whilst the big picture goal may well be the ultimate 'dream', the necessary steps required to achieve this are each based on the reality of your circumstances as they present at that time.
Relevant goals ultimately are the ones you can currently perform which directly link to the achievement of the big picture.
A goal without a deadline is just a idea. It's the date for completion that causes us to action things. By setting and agreeing a date when we will have achieved this, we unconsciously form a contract, a commitment to the achievement of that specific action. Whilst flexibility in timescales may well be a great idea, review dates and deadlines are the keys to goal achievement. The timescale itself must be relevant, reasonable and realistic based on the nature of actions being undetaken. For many fitness and health related goals adequate time must be scheduled to allow for specific adaptations to occur within the body.
It is essential that you also build in an evaluation and review process for your goal achievement. The evaluation aspect of this refers to the frequent reinforcement and reappraisal of your goals. Long term (even 3 or 6 month goals) are easily overlooked and as such become less of a priority. Eventually they become forgotten as the nature of modern life shifts your priorities and perspectives. By frequently (possibly even daily) evaluation of your goals you are continually reinforcing the importance of these. By maintaining a clear and present focus on these your behaviour will shift to ensuring the achievement of these goals. The universal law of attraction fundamentally delivering the results for the things on which you provide most focus and attention.
The final step here is to ensure you frequently review the relevance of the goal in respect of the big picture and also your behaviour in respect of the goal achievement. Re-adjusting your behaviour to ensure you align what you do with what you want is a conscious process and one that is easily overlooked. Through regular review it is possible to ensure that we remain aware of how we are progressing towards the achievement of that goal, we can remain aware of what else we need to do and fundamentally plan our future behaviour to provide this result. Equally by frequent review we are provided the opportunity to again hold goal up under the magnifying glass of relevance and ensure that it remains to be positively contributing to the achievement of our ultimate desired vision.
The next 12 months will shape you life for the future!
You owe it to yourself to be more focused and SMARTER about what you're going to do and how you're going to achieve it!
For more information on our personal coaching programme, including a FREE SMARTER GOALS WORKSHEET email us today: firstname.lastname@example.org