Setting goals for ourselves during the year are just like New Year’s Resolutions. They sound like a good idea, we are super pumped up as soon as we set them for ourselves, we have every intent of keeping them, and most of us are good with keeping them for a little while.

But to be honest, most of the time we are setting ourselves up for failure right from the beginning. We are sabotaging our goals in one, a few, or sometimes many ways without even being conscious of it. Why is that?

Well, when we make goals, we are often overlooking some pretty basic planning techniques because we are so focused on the end result. If instead we set up the goals in a thoughtful way, we are more likely to achieve them.

Many people are familiar with the SMART approach to Goal Setting for their professional lives, but the same approach works for our personal lives as well.

Specific: What is the specific goal you’re trying to accomplish? And be specific!

Measurable: How can you measure your success? Think about how you will know when you’ve accomplished the goal.

Actionable: What are the actionable steps (aka objectives) needed to achieve the goal? Break the goal into smaller steps. List every step.

Responsible: Who are the people that must support this goal? If you need the support of your manager, co-workers, friends, or family, make note of it here.

Time-bound:  When do you want to achieve the goal?

So, based off of the idea of SMART goals, I have a list of five YOU MUST actions to help in your goal setting pursuits.

YOU MUST have a goal that is specific and achievable.

  1. The more specific your goal is, the more attainable it is.
  2. Being realistic about the possibility of achieving this goal is key!

YOU MUST write down your goal.

  1. Vision board
  2. Goal setting worksheet available on the internet
  3. STRONGER AS ONE Goal Setting Matrix

YOU MUST have a specific time period for which the goal must be met.

  1. The time period may be adjusted as needed, but the initial time period must be set.
  2. Setting check-ins for yourself allow you to track your progress and adjust your time periods as necessary.

YOU MUST develop a plan to achieve your goal.

  1. Goal setting worksheet available on the internet
  2. STRONGER AS ONE Goal Setting Matrix

YOU MUST think about your goal and visualize the success of it every day.

  1. When we don’t think about the goal, we tend to put other things in front of it and most of the time it gets prioritized right out of the picture.
  2. Picturing your success with the goal gives you a sense that you really can do it, which allows your mind to be trained into thinking that your goal can happen.

An example of this being put into practice would be the goal of being a great cook. In a moment’s thought that goal seems like an achievable one, but in my opinion it’s way too big. It’s so big in fact that the shear idea of it brings forth a mountain of questions with it. What type of food do you want to cook? What appliances are you planning to use? Is there a specific meal time that you are really geared towards? How much background knowledge do you need to have? How much experience do you need to have? Can you learn from watching videos, a cookbook, a class, and mixture of all three? How much do you need to know about the food you’re using or is it more about the technique? See…I’m just getting started with the questions that I could come up with.

So, what if instead you were to choose to cook a specific dish well? I know that may seem small but hear me out. If you focus on one dish there is really quite a lot to it and because it’s a smaller goal than you’re original goal it allows for you to get a better handle on it. You can write it down, you are more likely to be successful with it, you can certainly give it a specific time frame, you can develop a plan, and you can visualize it.

Now, once the goal of the one dish is accomplished you can transition into a second dish, then perhaps a third, and so on until you perhaps build up to a specific theme or style, and then that could build and build until eventually you are a great cook.

The point to all this is that you want to set yourself up for success with your goal setting and to do that YOU MUST plan.

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