One of the things we said we would address in our first annual #SummerOfAwesome is setting goals. Or more specifically, setting small, meaningful goals.
Seems like such simple fare, and yet so few of us set goals and actually follow through with the steps to achieve those goals.
The time for that to end is right now.
Because today is the day to start identifying your dreams, setting goals, and moving ahead toward a most amazing future!
But first, where do we go wrong with goal setting?
As the image above identifies, we often make big sweeping goals – sometimes more than one – and they’re not specific enough. Just a huge gesture. Such as, “By this time next year, I want to be in better shape physically.”
On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be much wrong with that goal. It’s an admirable goal, for sure. But how does one achieve that goal? Because that’s one big idea.
It’s the kind of goal that’s big and amorphous. And frankly easy to forget about on a day-to-day basis. Or to put off taking steps, just keeping the goal “in mind.” This is especially true if you don’t break it down into smaller, more manageable goals.
The first step is to set your overarching goal.
Let’s use my goal of being in better physical shape by this time next year as our example goal.
The second step to setting a goal is to break the larger, longer term goal into smaller, more manageable chunks.
Really small chunks. In other words, what you will do daily to reach that goal. In essence, a small daily goal.
I’ve decided that I am going to do some sort of physical activity every single day (barring illness).
So we’ve gone from this giant, amorphous blob of a goal – getting in better physical shape over the next year – to a specific daily requirement that I’m going to hold myself to.
While I am also going to implement an exercise plan and routine (as separate goals), the reason that I am committing to one form of physical activity every single day is so that I do at least something on days that I might have a genuine reason for missing the planned exercise – had to stay late at work, put my back out, running my kid around on errands for school or activities.
So by committing to do some activity each day, and layering that into a larger, more structured plan, I am not giving myself an out if timing is off for a day or two – on the days that life gets in the way. I must still uphold my commitment to myself, but I have more flexibility, like going for a quick walk around the block or doing some yoga stretches before bed.
While I’m using the example of exercise, this applies to other pursuits as well. If you want to write a book by this time next year, you can commit to writing something every day. You can also build an outline and a plan for how much ground you’d like to cover daily, but for those days when the well runs dry or if you’re very busy, committing to writing something, no matter how little, is better than losing a day entirely.
The next step…write it down.
And don’t just write it down and stuff your daily goal in a drawer somewhere. Nope.
Write it down and post it somewhere.
In fact, post it in 3 places in your home that you will see frequently.
Here’s what I wrote down for my small daily goal…
…and I posted it in the 3 places I think I’ll hit with the most frequency while I’m home before and after work…the kitchen and 2 bathrooms! (That says a lot about me, I’m sure, but we really don’t need to go there…)
Now, every time I walk past the sign in the kitchen or when I look in the mirror in either of the bathrooms, I see my little reminder. And because I have a visual queue in several locations in my house, I am frequently reminded of my commitment to myself.
The final step is follow-through. And guess what? Posting the small daily goal reminders around my house is working. It’s prompting me to not only remember that I’ve set a goal for myself, but that reminder encourages me to follow through!
So, to recap, here is how to set a meaningful, achievable goal:
- Set an overarching goal.
- Break the larger goal into smaller, more manageable chunks.
- Write down your goal and post it in 3 places in your home.
- Follow through!
What kind of goals have you been putting off setting for yourself? Why not start following these steps today? You’ll be glad you did!