I love talking about goals and think the implementation of “SMART Goals” is fantastic. (And if you are not familiar with it. I created an infographic below that outlines it - just be patient. You will get there.) This methodology gives you very practical and tangible application points to think about when setting your goals so that you can be successful in your endeavors. AND, with so many clients I work with, there is still a major disconnect between setting and completing the goals. Why? Some of the most common issues we identify include:
The goal is no longer relevant (or never was).
The goal is too big and in reality, has a lot of smaller goals to flesh out underneath it.
We don’t see the point or how it connects to the bigger picture.
Lack of motivation.
Fear. We are afraid we will fail, afraid of asking for help, afraid of trudging forward into the unknown. We become paralyzed and overwhelmed, confidence wavering and begin to sell ourselves on being “fine, right where I am”.
Why am I doing this? Why “should” I do this?
Now, the principles of SMART goals can help us with 1, 2, and 3. We can go back and think about what is relevant and appropriate for us to be working on given an identified end point or outcome we are pursuing. We can use a technique from AA called, “Play it Through to the End” where we think about how achieving that goal will effect the desired outcome (or not) and adjust from there. We can write out all of the steps it would take to achieve our goals and break those down into smaller goals. Sure, it might mean going back to the drawing board (or bullet journal) and getting more clarity, AND, the format really helps you process through those stuck points. In fact, most goals start out as drafts to the work we will and want to do and require a lot of rewrites and adjustments.
Now, what about points 4,5 and 6? Motivation and Fear. SMART Goals don’t really give me the formula for dealing with this. I mean, I may have set the best SMART goals ever, AND, if I dont have the motivation and confidence, it’s going to be a long sit next to that boulder by the hill. And with that, I like to make 2 key addendums to the SMART Goals format.
Where are you at in terms of readiness to change? Are you thinking about the change? Unsure if you want to make it? Coming up against the fear it will never work? Or are you ready to jump in? We have to be honest with ourselves about where we are at in order to understand where our behavior and attitudes towards and around our goals comes from and how to leverage it towards action.
Who are you doing this for? What makes you WANT to do this? WHY you? And what is the cost of not doing it? For me, I have to come back to the force inside of me and get clear on how this connects to my values and dreams. Goals direct me towards a path and it is important I am always clear on what that path is and who I want to be while walking that path in order to make a push for any goal before me. For example, I know from my 23andMe report that I have a HIGH genetic likelihood for diabetes. This has nothing to do with my weight or sugar intake, this is purely genetics. So, while my goals of eating well, reading research about diabetes prevention and exercise are not always “fun”, I am motivated by the me I want to be for my future kids. I am motivated by the business owner I am becoming and the ways I want to leverage my business to impact the most people possible. I am motivated by my drive to travel. The why has nothing to do with liking it. In fact, I am scared shitless about it and many days, hate that I have to do it. I hear the implicit bias rolling around my head - “but I am not overweight”; “I dont eat fast food”; “I barely have sweets”…it doesnt matter. Genetics are genetics. So I have to keep looking at the long term dream of who I will be and what I can do and in those moments when resistance kicks in, I can attack it head on with the “WHY” that drives me.
Okay, now it is your turn. Think about the goals you have been setting for yourself. What gets in the way? Look at the ones that keep getting copied over to a new list, what about those goals or tasks makes you want to avoid them or feel stuck when you approach them? What adjustments do you need to make to your goals?
Check out this Infographic I created to help you with setting effective goals and thinking through these potential barriers.
Download a PDF version here.
To learn more about effective goal setting and how it connects to the greater “WHY” driving you, check out my webinar, “Goals, Intentions & Dreams…Oh My” where you will get, not only access to the webinar and all of the materials I created but the curated list of resources i put together as well to further the work.