People often set goals that are either really vague or very ambitious but, while it’s great to aim high, if you’re constantly setting goals that are out of reach and you don’t achieve them, you begin to think you’re the type of person that can’t achieve your goals. So you stop setting them, or you set them and then don’t take steps towards them, reinforcing the negative belief.
So how can you set goals that you’ll actually achieve?
You gotta be SMART about it.
For every goal you set, ask yourself – is it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time limited?
Your goals should be clear and specific so you know exactly what you’re working towards. Just saying “I want to get fitter” is vague and doesn’t really give you something to work on. When setting goals, ask yourself:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Why do I want to achieve it?
- What resources are involved?
- Who else is involved?
How will you measure your success? How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Having measurable goals helps you keep track of progress, which will in turn help you stay motivated as you see yourself getting closer to the outcome.
Your fitness goal might be to run 2km without stopping or to deadlift 100kg. These are measurable goals that will allow you to track your progress along your journey.
Your goal needs to be realistically attainable. Setting goals that are too far outside of your skills and available resources reduces your ability to actually achieve them. For example, you might say you want to win next year’s Crossfit games, except you’ve never stepped a foot inside a gym. However, competing at a local competition will encourage you to take action and is achievable within the time limit.
Your goals should be relevant to you, align with your values and preferences, and consider the goals of others close to you (such as your partner). Ask yourself:
- Does this goal reflect the person I strive to be?
- Does this goal align with my overall life goals?
- Does this match our family goals?
Having a deadline gives you something to focus on and work towards. If there’s no end date, it’s easy to not prioritise your long-term goals and let other daily tasks occupy your time. If your goal is to achieve something a year from now, set yourself smaller deadlines along the way so you’re constantly working towards something.
Follow this process every time you set yourself a goal and you’ll see your success rate increase significantly. You’ll start believing you’re the kind of person who can achieve goals and be even more motivated to take action.