If you want to succeed, goals are a must. Without them, you lack focus and direction.
Setting a goal is more than simply saying you want something to happen. It is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it.
Goals help give you direction, keep you focused and motivated, and increase your chance of achieving something. People tend to increase the amount of time and effort spent on an activity, and develop effective strategies when they have a goal to achieve.
Whether your goals are big or small, the first step in achieving them is deciding what they are.
Start with things you enjoy
The goals you set need to be meaningful to you. They shouldn’t be things that you think you ‘should’ be doing or someone else wants you to do. You need to see value in achieving them. If you have little or no interest in the outcome or it is irrelevant to you, then you most likely won’t put in the work to achieve that outcome.
Break your goals down into your top two or three, the ones with the highest sense of urgency. This will help you stay focused and allow you to channel your energy into achieving them.
Write them down
The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. Have it written down somewhere visible to remind yourself daily of your intentions. Put it on a wall, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder. Having it on display for others to see can also help to keep you more accountable and more likely to put in the effort required to achieve your goal.
Make an action plan
This is something that is often left out of the goal-setting process. It’s easy to focus so much on the outcome that you forget to plan the steps needed to get there. How are you going to reach your destination if you don’t know the way?
By having individual steps that you can tick off as you complete them, it will help you see that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important for long-term or larger goals.
Seek out the advice of your peers, a coach or a mentor that can give you some insight into the steps needed to reach your goal.
Set SMART goals
You may have heard of this term already. Using this goal-setting strategy can be a powerful tool to help structure your goals so that they are more achievable.
The acronym stands for:
Set Specific goals.
Your goals should be clear and well defined. Vague or general goals will not provide sufficient direction. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results.
Always set goals that are measurable.
How are you going to know that you have succeeded if you don’t have a measure of success? If your goal is to get pull-ups for example, are you successful when you get 1, 5 or 10?
Are your goals achievable?
Be honest with yourself. Is the time frame you have set to achieve your goal realistic?
You may need to break larger goals down into smaller ones to make them more achievable and help keep you motivated towards achieving your larger goal.
Are your goals relevant to your life?
Do they fit within your training or what you do on a daily basis?
When do you want to achieve your result?
Every goal should have a timeframe attached to it.
Having a deadline helps to create a sense of urgency and makes you more likely to put in the work needed to achieve your goal. Without a timeframe, it is easy to procrastinate and not make the effort required.
You may want to have separate goals for different timeframes. Short-term goals typically involve a 4-8 week timeframe. Medium-term goals can be timeframe of a few months up to a year. Longer-term goals are typically for timeframes of a year or more.
Common mistakes people make when thinking about goal setting are:
Setting goals too high – Unrealistic goals can lead to stress or becoming demoralised and giving up altogether. Sure, it’s great to have big goals. However, you may need to set a more realistic timeframe or break your ultimate goal into smaller more manageable goals.
Too many goals – Having too many goals will not allow you to focus your energy enough to achieve those goals. Goals that conflict with each other can also make it more likely that you will fail to achieve them.
Goals are not specific enough – Not having specificity will mean you lack the direction needed to achieve that goal. It’s also important to adjust goals to fit in with all aspects of your life.
Use this short guide to help you structure some goals for yourself today.