Want to know the unsexy truth about setting goals that matter? Congratulations! You’re in the 3% of the population who are goal-oriented. You are already ahead of the 97% that don’t even try. But having goals isn’t enough if they are not powerfully meaningful to you, and they are not achievable if you don’t have a strategy. Let’s break down the process of setting and achieving goals that matter.
Cast your vision
Before you even begin, it’s critically important to know exactly where you want to go and why. I like to use the analogy of a goal mountain because the experience of climbing is very similar to the journey of our goals. Our life is a journey, not necessarily all uphill, but we are all heading somewhere… ideally to the peak of our life. What lies at the summit is the fulfillment of our life vision or Guiding Light Goal, as I call it in the LightHer Way Program. Everything that we do, every choice we make, and every goal we set along the way lead us up that mountain. Begin with the end in mind.
Chart your path
Do you have a clear view of what success will look like? As a life coach and former project manager, I believe in the power of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. The SMART goal formula is a reliable and reproducible means to ensure the achievement of your dreams. Not very sexy, is it? For a realist like myself, I find comfort in a tried and true process! You can’t improve what you can’t measure, so create a SMART goal that allows you to know when you’ve arrived. For example, “I will complete the Fredericksburg Turkey Trot 5K on November 23, 2021.”
Notice that this example includes WHAT + WHEN + RESULTS in one complete sentence. It’s specific, measurable, and has an end date. It also implies multiple small steps and habits that need to happen along the way. Some of these micro goals and habits may be: registering for the event, creating a training plan, actually doing the training, and maybe recruiting an accountability partner or coach.
The other unsexy truth about setting goals is that you need to have a compelling reason WHY it matters to you to remain committed, even on the most challenging days. We know that the mind is motivated either by moving AWAY from pain or moving TOWARD pleasure. Most of us starting on the journey are motivated by pain. This is a great beginning, but what happens when we see some success and the pain is not so acute? We LOSE motivation. Therefore, the best motivator is to move toward pleasure – the overarching vision of WHY this matters so much.
Finding clarity about what matters most to you is truly your first step in the process. Often, this is the biggest hurdle because everything seems equally important. If you’d like to get more support in narrowing your focus and finding clarity, I’ve created a free resource for you called the Clarity Guide. If you’re ready to ditch hamster wheel overwhelm, this guide is for you!