I hear from many people each year who tell me they know all about goals and how to set goals even S.M.A.R.T. Goals.  My experience has been that they know the mechanics of setting the goal, some are confident enough to say they can map goals out in their heads and have no need for the formalities of setting a goal.  Yet every year I hear from the same people about how they did not see any success as a result of any goals they set, that there is this dark cloud following them or simply they are not lucky.

Let’s change that behaviour and look toward setting successful goals for 2016.  However before doing so let’s reflect on some of the key reasons why people do not reach their goals.

  1. As per my earlier post “2015 Reflection: Prequel to 2016 Goal Setting” most people do not reflect and close out their past goals.  In fact what they are doing (mostly likely at an unconscious level) is caring into the new goal setting all baggage (usually bad) from the past.

GET RID OF THE OLD

  1. Creating vague goals that lack any form of detail and are plagued with ambiguity.  Typical goals “I want to lose weight”, sounds like a simple and logical goal.  Do you want to lose weight because you are “fat”, because your BMI is high and suggests obesity, you want to fit into that bathing suit, or simply you do not think you look good?  How much weight, how will do it, how long will it take, what’s my measure of success, is it a realistic goal for me (if you have a medical condition, simply dieting or exercise may not be enough)?

BE SPECIFIC ON THE NEW GOAL – Follow any SMART goal model

  1. Goals must serve a purpose.  If you do not know why you want to “lose weight” why bother setting it as a goal?

GOALS MUST ASSIST YOU IN MOVING FORWARD

  1. Setting too many goals or not enough goals.  If a goal is a large, longer term goal; breaking it up into smaller, shorter term goals would be easier to achieve and manage.  However going to the opposite extreme and setting so many goals that it becomes unmanageable is also a formula for disaster.

SET THE APPROAPRIATE NUMBER OF GOALS THAT ARE MANAGABLE FOR YOU!

  1. Stop focusing on the negative.  Negative behaviour either from past experiences or current as a result of an ongoing goal serves you no purpose.  Negative energy is draining, less productive, and destructive (if not used correctly) and stifles creativity.

NEGATIVE REPELS AND POSITIVE ATTRACTS – Attract any and all things/people who are Positive

  1. There are many different variations of Goal Templates/Models, SMART, SMARTER, SMARTA etc what’s important is that you simply pick one and stick to it. That you follow the guidelines of that particular goal template.  But most importantly that you actually write the goal down on some form of medium (paper, computer desktop, flask drive etc) that will allow you to view it each and every single day until the goal is complete.

Setting Goals for Success

“SMART” Goal Template

  1. S = Specific:  When defining your goal it must contain enough detail that makes it clear to you and to others exactly what your goal is all about.  For example if you are planning to “lose weight”, state how much weight (in lbs or kgs)  or how many inches you want off your waist or what is the target BMI number.  That makes it specific not simply stating “lose weight”.
  2. M = Measurable:  The goal must contain a very specific measurable component.  Emotions or feeling good about something is not a measure of success.  Some measurements can occur on a regular basis others maybe one time measurable.  For example I will measure my waist and weight every day first thing in the morning and log it in a chart form.  If a measure of success (the final outcome of the goal) is too big or goes over a period of time setting up milestones points for measurement would be appropriate.
  3. A = Achievable/Accountable:  Does the goal have purpose and that you can actually complete this goal as stated.  For example if losing 10 lbs in one month is not achievable then setting a goal of 5lbs might be better for you.   I also combine Accountability at this, how are you going to hold yourself accountable?  What will be your consequences if you do not follow through?  This is where maybe hiring a personal training or setting a penalty for yourself   (i.e. if I do not complete goal I will donate $X to a charity).
  4. R = Realistic:  How realistic is the goal you have set, does your lifestyle allow you to “lose weight”, Are you prepared to actually follow through on your goal in the allotted time frame?  What other obstacles may not make this realistic (i.e. if you are losing weight are their underlying medical conditions to consider).
  5. T = Time Sensitive:  A goal has to have a specific time frame appropriate for the outcome of the goal.  No point stating you will lose 10lbs in 2 weeks when the most you can possibly lose (in a healthy manner) is 2-3lbs per week.  This will also align to the achievability and realistic aspects of the goal.  If a goal goes beyond a year I would suggest breaking the goal into smaller sub-goals all leading you’re toward the ultimate goal.

Note:  Regarding A and R, you may find at some point down the time line that in fact you realize things around the goal you set have changed, maybe new facts came to light (whatever that maybe that now changes the outcome of the goal) any changes need to be realigned to your goal.  This could mean that changing or closing your goal is the right answer.  Give yourself the “behavioural flexibility” to adjust to the conditions presented.  This should be viewed as a positive not as a negative.

Here is the important component to any of the SMART Goal models you use.  You must write your goal down; one of your measurable s is to review the goal every day at a specific time.  Use pictures, graphics or any visual aid to help you see you goal.  Throughout the day take a “mindful moment” and see your goal.  Simply close your eyes and recall the visual of your goal.  However avoid seeing yourself actually completing the goal.  If you see yourself having reached your weight limit (if that was your goal measurable) at an unconscious level your mind thinks in fact you have completed the goal and therefore does not align your internal resources to continue the goal journey.  So when visualizing your goal see yourself walking through the steps to get you toward the end of your goal.  Following the example of weight loss, see yourself measuring your waist or weight each day and losing xlbs every day.  This visualization will keep all your unconscious resources working toward Goal Completion and Success.  Although the examples used were related to weight loss, the exact same principals can and should be used no matter what the goal.

Remember to celebrate the outcome of your goal once completed.  That’s when you can use the visualization of completion.  This will help embed the experience in your unconscious for future positive reference.

The last point on Goal success if you require, find yourself a Goal Mentor that you can leverage as needed.  Should you find yourself struggling with any aspect of your goal?  Someone that will simply keep you focussed on track.

Now go out and set your Goals for 2016.  Best of luck.