Wednesday, January 2, 2019

5 Steps to Set Achievable Goals

Goal setting has been a hot topic on all of my podcasts that I listen to and blogs that I follow. I suppose I'm a little late to the game if I'm just sending out steps to set goals, but I figured everyone was busy with the holidays and didn't necessarily have time to do such a thing. So being the free will that I am, I decided to send it out after the holidays were over and your decorations were down. No judgement though if they're still up. 

I'm starting the year with a two part series. This first one is steps to set your goals and the second will be about how to achieve your goals.

I am an extremely goal oriented person with a ridiculous amount of tenacity. I live my life with the mantra of "Failing to plan is planning to fail", however to be honest with you, I've never been one to make new years resolutions. If I did they were just a wish or a fleeting thought because my philosophy is that if I need to change something I'm not going to wait until the new year. I mean, why wait? I make the changes that need to be made when they need to be done.

In 2018 I started listening to podcasts. It felt like an easy way to learn things while I went about my day. After listening to various podcasts, I noticed they all had a common theme or thread that they kept coming back to...habits. I looked into the books that were being mentioned. I feel that I am a very routine person but I wanted to see what I could learn about habits. I checked out about 4 books about habits from the library. My true goal was trying to see how I can kick the ice cream habit. None of the books had a chapter about that though...sigh!

The one common thing in all of the books about habits was to have goals. They used the word goals when they referred to the new year, not resolutions.  Although they are sort of the same thing, the word goals struck a chord with me. Zig Ziglar said, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit nothing every time." 

Let the goal setting begin! 

These are the steps I took to set my goals.

1. Pray
Honestly, you can have all sorts of goals but if they don't line up with God's will then they aren't going to happen. You'll be spinning your wheels. Be intentional and put your efforts into something that is going to be part of God's plan for your life.

If he guides you to it, he'll help you do it.

Proverbs 16:9 says "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. 

2. Brainstorm
To begin, ask yourself what you want to have accomplished by the end of the year. Is it weight loss, a new home, a new job, a better marriage? Just write whatever come to your mind.

Make a list of things you want to do: big, small, practical, obtainable, out of reach, out of my comfort zone, and a little scary. Basically let yourself dream and then jotted it all down. This process may take couple of days. Keep a notepad handy to write down ideas. 

3. Categorize
Next, use color coding to group like items together. You can use symbols if that's your thing.  

Most goals fall neatly into 4 different categories: spiritual, physical, social and relational.

Sometimes when writing, it's easier to brainstorm under categories. If you need to think of your categories first, then do it that way. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to make your categories equal. This isn't about being fair to your categories, this is about being fair to you and your needs and wants. 

When you choose your categories it's ideal not to have more than 4 categories. Otherwise it seems overwhelming and difficult to achieve. On the flip side, you don't have to categorize at all. You may just want to make a list and stop there. You know you, just do it.

4. Define
Here is where the rubber meets the road. Look at each of your goals and ask yourself these questions:
  • Why am I doing this? sidenote: If the answer to "why" isn't about you, if it's out of guilt, should-do sentiment, or how you think it should be based on unrealistic expectations, then get rid of it. These are YOUR GOALS, you know you and your family. Be realistic and don't set goals that rely on other people changing for you to achieve them.
  • How will I do this or how will this look? 
  • By when would I like to do this?

If you'd like a plan to follow, make your goals SMART. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely)

By defining your goals you are looking at a more clear-cut picture and have a plan to accomplish your goal.

      Here's an example:
      Brainstormed item- me time (notice just 2 words)
      Specific goal- Take 1 evening a week off to do what I want to do for me. 

5. Make a visual reminder
This is probably the most important step in this entire process.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store for 5 things without a list? You think oh I'll remember them, it's only need 5 things. Famous last words, right?! 

The same thing happens when you don't write down your goals. You get distracted with the everyday of life, routine takes over and by February you've forgotten completely about your goals.

By writing them down you're connecting so many neurons in your brain that will help you to become successful at achieving your 2019 goals.

If you have a creative side you can use pictures from magazines to create a vision board for 2019. 

Don't stress if all of this overwhelms you. I have created a goal setting planner to help you follow along and write down your thoughts. I created one following the steps I listed and one with the the categories first. Different people require different methods of brainstorming. Take some time to see which planner strikes a chord with you. 

Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss next week's post about how to make your goals achievable.

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