I love helping clients set goals. Whether it’s personal goals or business goals, having very clear and written down goals not only helps us know our direction, but we are more likely to achieve those goals. When you set goals you’re taking control of your life and your situation. You have clarity and direction. When you know where you are going, then you can develop a plan of how to get there.
So, let’s look at how to set some personal goals:
- If you’re setting goals personally for yourself, you need to understand yourself first and what makes you tick. What motivates you and is important for you? There is no point in setting a goal for something which doesn’t really interest you or have value for you.
- Decide on what you want to achieve. There is no right or wrong answer to this. It might be in your personal life you want to gain a qualification, achieve a career level, or find a great relationship, get healthy, expand your personal interests or something else. Position this in a positive way, for example, ‘gain more friends’ versus ‘stop being alone’. Ensure it’s a goal you’re passionate about. Envisage how you will feel if you achieve that goal. Bringing some passion and excitement to a goal helps a lot too.
- You can have more than one goal, but don’t have so many goals, that doing everything is almost impossible. Don’t set up yourself for failure. Be realistic about the time (or energy or money) that each goal will require. Pushing yourself a little out of your comfort zone is one thing; being unrealistic is another.
- Once you determine what you want, convert it to a specific item. Eg, getting healthier, might actually equate to losing some weight or exercising 3 times a week or eating better. Happier in your relationships, might mean making more friends or meeting someone special or perhaps improving the relationship of someone already in your life. Once you’re able to be clear about what the goal is, reword or reposition it so it’s:
S – SPECIFIC
M – MEASURABLE
A – ACHIEVEABLE
R – RELATIVE
T – TIME BASED
You might say you want to get 3 new friends in 3 months. This is specific, measurable, achievable (if you take action) and if you want more friends, then it’s relative and time-based.
- Step 1 is to write it down. If a goal is written down it’s more likely to happen.
- The next step is to consider your action steps. How are you going to meet more people? Are you going to join a club, start a sport, go to art classes, join a MeetUp group? If you want to grow your friendship circle, then it’s more likely you will connect with like-minded people. If you love dogs, then a dog obedience club might be good. If you’re into art or music, then go to something related to that. If sport, exercise and fitness are your thing, then that’s an option. Remember, the big thing here is to actually do something. Goals don’t get achieved by doing nothing. Having a written down goal is one thing, but taking action to make it happen is quite different.
- If it’s a big goal; then you might break it down into bite-sized chunks. A big goal might need steps, or stepping stones where you move forward a stage at a time.
- Another strategy is to share your goal with someone; when you share a goal, it’s more likely to happen. When you write it down, that’s step one, but sharing with another person cements it even more.
- You may also want to break it down into time segments. If you want 3 friends after 3 months, you may say one a month, or perhaps knowing it will take time to connect to people, it may not happen overnight. Not everything can be done in a calculated and systematic way. That often works well for business, but in life, sometimes it’s about enjoying the journey, being patient and if it took you 4 months to make two great friends, then I’d see that as a win, rather than a failure.
- Overcome obstacles. It might be that you made a great friend and then they moved overseas and rarely stay in touch. Perhaps you’re aiming for a career advancement and you get retrenched. That can have a big impact on your goal, but don’t quit. It’s a bump in the road, but may also represent an opportunity to actually go to a new position which is even better than the last, or where career advancement is more likely.
- Long-term goals may need modification. Your goal may need to change, or the action steps may need modification. Be flexible (and honest enough) to recognize when changes are needed and make the changes needed. You might have a goal, with the birth of a child will mean you will have less time to work on that goal and you’ll need to change your timeline. That’s ok – things happen. You don’t have to quit your goal, but it might have to move slower at some points.
- Stay on course, review and assess where you are. The more you focus on something, the more likely it is to happen.
- Seek help. Sometimes our goals are achievable by ourselves and sometimes we need help. You might need a PT to help with sticking to exercise, or a Nutritionist to help with a good balance diet. You might need a career coach or life coach (like myself) to help you stay on track. Seeking help isn’t weakness, it’s a sign of intelligence; knowing when you need help and when it’s time to reach out. Someone else helping you may well help you to stay the course.
- Celebrate your wins. As you reach each stage, milestone or step along the way, have a little celebration. Better to celebrate as you go, than just wait till the very end, especially if it’s a larger goal. You might be completing a degree and after you pass each subject, there is a little celebration. Part of your goal setting might include the rewards you give yourself. It might be a gift to yourself, or some time away, or simply, just giving yourself a pat on the back, for a job well done.
As a Life Coach and Business Coach, I work with my clients every day around achieving goals. If you’re wanting any help with goal setting or staying on course with your goals, let me know. Reach out to me at my contact page. My passion is your potential!