Well, it’s that time again when we declare our resolutions and charge ahead! The new year allows us to reset and dream of new possibilities. Many of us make declarations to reset our exercise routine, set weight-loss goals, project business profits, and finish lingering house projects. We all have different goals that we want to reach in 2021. Whether personal, family, spiritual or business setting realistic goals will help you to plan the way ahead.
Often, however, we start the goal with a determined mindset and willpower, but without a realistic plan our goals quickly fizzle out. Have you ever been there? I surely have! It feels discouraging and beyond reach.
For example, we make goals about desired outcomes in the new year, like losing weight and find that we give up in the first few weeks or maybe we want to complete that lingering house project, but the busyness of life gets in the way and we never finish it.
In both of these situations, we really want to meet our goals, but we are missing a major key to setting goals–It is the “WHY.”
The WHY is what fuels our inner drive. It is the reason the goal really matters to us. Our “WHY” is the basis for our motivation and purpose for the goal, and it needs to be both realistic and attainable.
Some questions we can ask ourselves to find our “why” are:
What is the deep reason I want to meet this goal? Why does it matter to me?
What life change will it provide for me?
The second reason our goal-setting comes to a halt is because we set the goals but don’t take the time to create a clear pathway on how to achieve them. Goals require intentional action steps that will take you to the finish line.
One way to break it down into manageable and intentional steps is to use the word “SMART” to help you. This acronym guides you through the process so you can have a greater overall success.
S stands for Specific. A goal cannot be general or vague. We need to determine what we want to accomplish, why it is important, and how we want to meet this goal to narrow it down. Keeping it simple and specific helps us define our goals so they are not so broad that we get confused in the process and want to give up.
M stands for Measurable. We need to measure our goals so we know if we have met them. Since we want our goals to be meaningful and motivating, answering “how much” or “how many” can help clarify the measurement. By adding a measurement such as a timeframe, percentage, or an amount, we can show that we are making progress toward the finish line. I love seeing progress, don’t you?
A stands for Attainable. Our goals need to be something we can do. To check this, let’s ask, “How can we accomplish our goal?” or “Is it possible for me to achieve with what you have going on in your life?” Our goals need to be attainable if we want to succeed in them. Knowing that we CAN do it shifts our mindset from questionable to possible!
R stands for Realistic and Relevant. Setting up realistic goals keeps us from getting overwhelmed in the process. Being mindful of where we are in our current season of life helps us set goals that are doable and results-based.
T stands for Timely– Every goal needs a deadline. Setting a specific time to accomplish our goals gives us momentum and a healthy pressure to meet our goal in a timely manner. Additionally, it allows us to visualize the goal, the finish line, and the prize.
Along with using the SMART step-by-step approach, there are 6 essential strategies that will make your goal setting more achievable:
1. Make space for change. Many goals produce changes in our lives, and that means it will be a new journey for us. This can be a bit scary, but when we choose and plan for what we want and make space for that change, it can be exciting and wonderful! As we move successfully through our goal and take time to enjoy the process, we will make space for the change in our mind, our environment, our calendar, our body, and our heart.
2. Consistency is key. We need to plan time to work on your goals. Consistency is about doing what you need to do over and over to get the result you want. Scheduling it on your calendar and into your week is part of consistency. This includes saying no to other things so you can work your plan. Prioritizing the tasks of the goal into your life will keep you consistent and moving forward in your goals.
3. Vision boards can pull it all together. Making a vision board for your goals is a way to set your goal in front of you each day. As you look at it, you are seeing your why, your dreams, and your outcome! A vision board can be created digitally or on posterboard. As you put your goals and dreams on the vision board, the clarity of your goal will shift to the forefront and give you a renewed sense of focus.
4. Thoughtful reflection. Thinking about your goals and really pondering on your why and how they will affect your life is a great way to keep going. It intentionally drives you forward and keeps your focus. And it is rejuvenating to dream, plan and ponder.
5. Planning is your friend. Take the time to plan it out. Enjoy the journey and make it yours. Make small adjustments when needed to the plan. If you need to shift a task, that is ok. It is YOUR plan and you can adjust it!
6. Blocking is key. One of the biggest obstacles we face in goal setting is not breaking it down. We have to have a blueprint to succeed. Just like in the house-building process, the blueprint is a step-by-step plan to create a house. We need to break it down to make it manageable and doable. The small steps make it easy to complete and track. Not to mention, marking off each completed step moves us forward when we see we are completing another step towards our goal!
Now that we have addressed the process for successful goal setting, let’s look at the benefits. Focusing on those will help us envision the desired achievement and success.
After effectively meeting our goals:
1. We will have a greater sense of accomplishment.
2. We will have gained a deeper understanding of ourselves.
3. We will have strengthened our character with tenacity and follow through.
4. We will begin to fuel future goals with each accomplishment because success builds momentum.
5. We will know that our determination, planning, and follow-through led to our success.
Focusing on the benefits allows us to envision our future; the future of completing our goals and finishing well. In this new year, Zion Restoration Counseling Services wants to see you make and meet your goals. Please check out our SMART Goal worksheet for 2021 to help you effectively set your goals, block out the steps, execute them, and find tremendous success! We are rooting for you, so go make it happen the “SMART” way!