We all have some dreams in our lives. I mean, who doesn’t? We want to get rich, want to loose weight and stay fit, want to get popular, to be successful etc. But how many of us have a system to accomplish these desires? Are you someone who gets excited about setting these big goals . . . . only to forget them few weeks later?
When you start chasing your goals without a proper action plan you often get overwhelmed and hit pause. You start thinking “Maybe I should settle for what I have.” It’s easier to get caught up in our daily lives when we aren’t working for something bigger and better for ourselves. We get trapped into thinking that our goals need to be based on another person’s definition of success. When you are not clear about your actual goals you end up chasing the artificial ones.
What is Goal Setting?
Goal setting can be different for everyone depending on their lifestyle, values and definition of success. Your goals are unique to you and don’t need to look like anyone else’s. In general terms, it’s the process of determining your precised goals, the time in which you want to achieve them, the habits that you need to adapt and the action steps that you need to take to achieve those goals.
Steps to Set Your Goals
1) Write Down Your Goals
Take a sheet and write down all your goals. Your thoughts are abstracts, writing them down makes them more tangible. Perform a brain dump session, write down all the things that you’d like to achieve this year (or the time span you are goal setting for).
Start by setting personal goals first and then professional.
2) Review Your List
Now that you have all your goals in front of you. Skim through that list and choose 3-4 goals that you want to focus on this year. Be very specific about each of them. For example, Instead of setting an intention like I want to loose weight, be specific, I want to loose 20 kgs in 12 months.
Psychologists have a concept they refer to as “goal competition”. In other words, your goals are competing for your time and attention. If you start focusing on your new goal, you’re drawing your attention from a previous one. Focusing on too many goals at once, often leaves them all unaccomplished.
3) Know Your Why
“When your why is strong enough, your how will reveal itself. “
You can write a paragraph for each goal, explaining why you want to achieve it. And it should be detailed. Let’s take the same example of a weight loss goal, your why can’t just be something like I want to look good, it should be more meaningful like I want to take care of my body, I want to gain more confidence. This is the why that’ll keep you going even when things get tough. Because in order to pursue your dreams, you’d have to make a lot of sacrifices & you’d have to change your routines. And you need a strong reason to keep going.
4) Set a Deadline
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. “Greg Reid
Set a deadline for your goal. Be realistic about it but at the same time don’t rush it. Your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). Also, set deadlines for each action steps that you make. This helps in reviewing your growth.
5) Build a Routine Around Your Goals
Identify the habits that you need to adapt in your daily & weekly routines that’ll ease your process. Setting goals is the easiest part. But you should be willing to accept the sacrifices and hard work that is required to realise your goals. ” Everybody wants a gold medal. Few people want to train like an Olympian.” Goals help you in pointing out the direction in which you need to go, your routines help you make the actual progress. Make sure that your daily habits are aligned with your success.
6) Determine Your Action Steps
Divide your annual goal into quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. This will help you to determine exactly what you need to do each day to help you get closer to your target. Make a hierarchal list of steps that you need to take, for every goal. This prevents you from the overwhelm.
Research has shown that you are 2x to 3x more likely to stick to your goals if you make a specific plan of action. Also, it’s easier to track progress when you can see yourself taking the necessary action steps. Again, if you want to loose 10 kgs in the next year. Your action steps can be to loose 2.5 kgs per quarter, to determine how frequently you’d workout in a week, the routine you’d follow and the diet you’d take.
Plan these action steps into your planners. You can use Google Calendar or Asana (I recommend them in almost every blog related to planning). Set up reminders on your phone or in real life. Make these goals visible to you. Write them down on a paper or use a picture as your vision and paste it on your mirror. So, if you want to follow a diet, paste a note or picture on your refrigerator or kitchen cabinets to serve as your constant reminders. You can also have an accountability partner(a friend or family member) who’d push you when motivation is low.
8) Review Your Goals
Take out time every week and every month to review your short term and long term goals. You can use the Find Your Balance Productivity Planner that’ll help you track your habits. Analyzing your plan helps you to track your progress and also determine which steps are helping you and which ones are hindering you. It’s important to be flexible and make changes when necessary.
Where to Go From Here?
Whatever your goals are (long termed or short termed), make sure to use these steps while planning your goals. And you’ll realise that your goals seem more achievable now. Let me know in the comments below how do you set your goals.