Goal Setting that Works

Goal Setting that Works

At this time of year, many people are looking back at their New Year’s resolutions and wondering if keeping those resolutions is really worth the hassle. By the middle of the year, often the goals that we made as the clocked ticked over to midnight feel like a distant memory, and we can’t even remember why we made them in the first place. “I’ll try again next year” becomes our mantra, and we quickly think about something else.

It is far too easy to let our ambitions fall by the way side, but by changing the way that we set our goals, we can make them much more motivating, and make ourselves much more likely to keep them.

The SMART Goal approach

Practitioners have been helping their clients make SMART goals for some time, with great success. This approach takes a vague goal and turns it into a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed goal. With some more detail, and by thinking the goal through that little bit more, we can help ‘someday, maybe next year’ become ‘today’.

Here is an example.

Sarah would like to run more, but she can’t quite do the 5 kilometres that she used to. She’s been telling herself she needs to run more for years, but it never seems to happen. She knows that after work she is too tired, and that she can run 3 kilometres but not 5. She also knows that when the weather is rainy, there’s no way she will lace up her running shoes and slosh through puddles.

Which goal is she more likely to hold herself to?

“I will run more”

or

“I will run for 3km outside or at the gym (if the weather is rainy), twice per week before work for the next 3 weeks”.

The second goal is a SMART goal, and – you guessed it— Sarah is much more likely to hold herself to it.

Why?

Implement the SMART Goal approach, and all of a sudden, a vague “someday” goal becomes much more concrete and motivating. Now Sarah has the details. She knows she can run 3 kilometres, and before work is her most productive time of day. Her goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. Timing a goal is particularly important, because it gives the goal an end point. This way, the goal becomes less daunting, instead of “forever” it’s only 3 weeks, and at the end of 3 weeks, Sarah can step back and look at how far she’s come. Maybe she’ll even decide to run 3 times a week instead of twice. After all, she achieved her last goal, didn’t she?

If you have a goal and you’re not sure where to start, get in touch! We are here to help.

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