Goals are not always easy to reach. The key is in your planning.
Goal setting is one of the more misunderstood concepts in trying to create healthier lifestyles. Too often, goals are centered on the wrong things. Properly setting a goal is the first step in actually reaching it.
You must also develop a good strategy if a goal is going to be obtained.
Lastly, the goal needs to be followed through to be successful.
Here are some examples of bad goals:
· Lose 5 pounds
· Go to the gym 3 days a week
· Eat better
You might be a little bit confused at this point because these are all positive things that would help a lot of people, right? Unfortunately, these are the unreached goals of many people.
The issue is that the goals do not hold a lot of meaning to them. If the goals do not have a direct attachment to the person, it is going to be difficult to attain them.
The three examples I gave above are not goals, but potentially strategies to reach a goal. Jon Goodman from www.theptdc.com says you need to ask yourself “why” two times before a goal is actually set.
Original goal: I want to eat better
Because I want to lose weight
I tried putting on a suit that I have not worn in a few years and it was a really tight fit.
New Goal: To fit in that suit.
The new goal here is going to much easier to attain than an arbitrary lose weight goal. The person can always go back to the suit that is hanging up in the closet and how they want to wear it again. Motivation is increased when there is an emotional reason behind a particular goal.
Most people set a goal for themselves and it is usually a strategy to get to their real hidden goal. In the example I gave, “I want to lose weight” and “I want to eat better” are strategies to achieve the end goal.
If a strategy is your goal, it will be insanely difficult to stick with. Make sure you ask yourself why. There is always something down deep that is driving your decision. Be honest with yourself to determine your goal.
Choosing specific strategies
Always ask “how?” when creating strategies. It will make the plan more specific and measurable.
I want to eat better
I am going to eat less processed food
With every meal, I will have 1 cup of vegetables.
New strategy: I will eat 1 cup of vegetables with every meal.
This gives a specific actionable plan. Eating better cannot be measured; it is too broad. Eating 2 pieces of fruit per day or cooking dinner 5 times per week are both specific and measurable.
The goal is much easier to follow through on when there are definite guidelines.
You have to be realistic with your strategies and goal in order to reach it. If you can only get to the gym 3 days a week, don’t make a strategy to go 5.
Set yourself up for success with this. Make sure your plan is both something that you want to do and can do. If you have no clue how to cook, you are not going to be able to cook 5 days per week just yet. You can start to practice and learn (maybe 3 days) but do not bite off more than you can chew (pun intended?).
Goal setting and planning can be aggressive, just not unrealistic.
Hold yourself accountable
Setting a goal with a sound strategy is fine and dandy until it is time to carry them out. You need to hold yourself accountable somehow.
1. Tell a friend about your goal and ask them to check up on you about it. This should be a close friend or a family member that wants to see you succeed. Maybe a few texts or emails a week will give you the constant reminder to follow the plan.
2. Keep a log or a checklist. This can be a notebook, whiteboard, calendar, etc. Find something that you can keep a record of your progress and adherence.
For example we will take a calendar. On the top of it, write out your goal. On each day of the month, you are going to put a tally for every cup of vegetables that you eat. This will give you feedback as to whether or not you are following your goal or need to pick it up.
3. Put it on social media. Tell the world and then you will have extra incentive to follow the plan. If the goal is known you will try harder to accomplish it. It is much easier to bail on a plan when you are the only person that knows about it.
Asking why and how is a way to create a specific goal and strategy to reach the goal. These should also be realistic and measurable.
Take 5 minutes to evaluate your current goal or a goal you may have forgotten about?
Is it specific, realistic, and measurable?
What is your strategy? Is that specific, realistic, and measurable?
Thinking about your actionable plan will put you on the fast track to success.