Another year is coming to an end. Honestly, where did 2018 go?! A bunch of you have been asking my tips and tricks for setting goals, so I figured, why not write it down for everyone to see. I encourage every client to set goals and think that we all could use a refresher on goals and goal setting.
It’s okay to dream big and have lofty goals. However, what’s not okay is setting unrealistic goals so that you can’t achieve those big lofty dreams & goals one day. We must make sure that we are SMART about our goal setting and understand that we must really REALLY be diligent about said goals to see success.
Goal Setting 101
If you Google ‘goal setting’ (maybe that’s how you wound up here) you’ll get a TON of advice and information. Much of that advice is around the acronym ‘SMART’. The world wants you to set SMART goals, and I’d have to agree, I also want your goals to be SMART but there is more to it than just writing down said goal.
Let’s review what SMART goals are for one moment. SMART stands for:
An example of a goal vs. a smart goal would be:
Not-so-smart goal: “I want to be healthy this year”
SMART goal: “I want to eat 1 fresh vegetable a day for the month of January”
As you can see the first is a good starting place or overview of what we are trying to accomplish. However, we cannot measure it so we have no way to manage said goal. The second goal, however, is specific (1 vegetable every day), measureable (did you eat 1 vegetable a day x 1month), achievable (depends on the person but 1/day is not too much), realistic (you eat daily so 1 vegetable a day seems realistic), and timely (1 month time domain). This goal will, in theory, help you get healthy this year but is more specific on HOW you will get healthy this year.
Stick to Your Goals This Year
As I was writing this, I was thinking beyond setting goals. I was thinking about how to STICK to said goals. I find all the time that my clients know WHAT they want, they may even know HOW they will get what they want, but the issue is the follow through. Will they put forth the effort to achieve said goal?! Maybe, maybe not.
As I was thinking about it, I thought, hmm what does it take to achieve a goal? It takes you caring and prioritizing. So, I came up with a fun acronym (because why not) to help you remember how to achieve your SMART goals.
It’s no coincidence that the acronym for sticking to your goals is “CARE.” I’m not saying all goal setters don’t care but I am saying the ones who do CARE are far more successful. Those that CARE prioritize their goals and themselves. This doesn’t make them selfish, it makes them selfless (for the most part). If we aren’t achieving our goals, chances are we can’t be there to help others reach their goals either.
What does CARE mean?
So glad you asked…
Consistency is truly the key to success. What we do consistently will show. I’ve written about this before but it’s something I’m truly convinced is the main reason people reach and keep their goals. Being consistent in whatever you do will produce results whether good or bad.
Want to eat vegetables? Eat them daily. Want to be more fit? Go to the gym REGULARLY. Want poor teeth health? Eat candy daily. Want to learn a new language? Speak/read/study it daily.
We, as humans, need accountability. The problem is that we all need it in different ways. So a lot of the time we choose the wrong accountability and it falls flat. What do I mean by that?
Well, we all need accountability in different ways. Some need it from others, some need it from themselves, some need it from another medium (money, app, calendar, aesthetics, authority, performance, etc.). There’s no right way but there is a right way for you.
Think about something that you do without question. What holds you accountable to that thing you do?
What makes you brush your teeth daily? What makes you show up to work? What makes you eat a certain way? What makes you go to the gym?
Write down what it is or WHO it is that holds you accountable and USE that thing/person to hold you accountable to your goals this year.
R & E: Realistic Expectations
Goals don’t happen overnight, unless of course it is an incredibly short-term goal of getting a good night’s sleep. Instead, they take time. Think back to what you wanted to achieve last December/January. What has changed since then? What’s better? What’s worse?
You must be realistic with your expectations and realistically expect setbacks. Setbacks are normal, it’s how we move through and past the setbacks that matters. Know that many goals are 1 step forward, 1 step back. Nothing worth achieving happens overnight so expect to
How to Set Goals
- Write down (and I mean actually write it down) what you want to accomplish. I recommend no more than 3 goals at a time.
- Make the goals SMART if not already.
- Figure out what consistency will look like to achieve the goal.
- Present your goals to your accountability system & set up that accountability system/feedback loop. If it’s yourself figure out how you will hold yourself accountable.
- Come back to your goals at least 1x per month and reevaluate the goals.
Rinse & repeat.
As you are reevaluating your goals, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you seeing results?
- Are you being consistent?
- Are you being held accountable?
- Do you have realistic expectations?
If the answer to all the above is yes, keep going. If the answer is no, it might be time to make a new goal or find a way to make this goal a priority. Goals are not meant to be easy, but if we want them, they’ll be worth it enough to go for them.
What are your goal(s) for 2019?
Laura Ligos, MBA, RD, CSSD says
Thank you! Hope you found it helpful.