One thing I always look forward to at the beginning of the year is goal setting. It’s a great opportunity to review the past year for all your accomplishments and setbacks and aim higher for the upcoming year. If you want your goals to stick this year, read on to discover the secret to goal setting the SMART way.
Time for some cathartic thinking. Go for a walk and evaluate your past year. Look at your life. Look at your choices. How did it go? What were some of your big wins? Think on how you can set the bar higher for what you’ve previously accomplished. What goals did you come up short on? Brainstorm ways you can re-approach these when goal setting this year.
Where would you like to be this year? What would you do if nothing (not even fear) was holding you back? Take those ideas and dreams that have been floating around in your brain and write them down. Think about what you want to accomplish, change, overcome, or learn.
Now that you have your dreams for the year written down, let’s turn them into real goals by making them SMART. To make a goal smart, it means that they are:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
That means that instead of saying you want to simply “run more” you would have to get specific and say “I want to run a half marathon.” You’d have to decide whether the goal really matters to you in order to justify the time you’re committing to the goal for it to be relevant. To measure this goal, you would have to create a running plan and check off whether you ran the appropriate mileage each week.
+ Tip: If running is your goal, Nike+ has an excellent free running plan that I absolutely love. I’m also all about giving out virtual cheers to anyone getting their mileage in.
When you sign up for a half-marathon you need to make sure the date you select is time-bound and attainable. Could you train for a half-marathon in 1 month? Probably not, but if you set the time for, say, 4 months out, it might be more attainable.
Break it Down
Using the SMART method of goal setting, take a look at each of your goals and break them down into a manageable form of attack. That means setting each goal into a monthly and weekly pipeline.
If you’re planning on reading 24 books for the year, your monthly goal would be to read two books a month. Weekly you’d have to make sure you were halfway through a book so that you could stay on goal.
+ Tip: Goodreads has their own reading challenge that you can try with a percentage tracker to keep you focused all year long.
One of the best ways to stay true to your goals is to make yourself accountable. This can be done in a variety of ways, either with a post online to shout it out into the world, with the help of a business or life coach (I worked with Idealust for the first six months of my business and they seriously helped me reach my goals), or with a friend turned accountabilibuddy who you can meet up with monthly or weekly to review your goals over coffee.
Make it Fun
There’s a reason I love goal setting and it’s because I make it fun. Achieving the goal shouldn’t be the only rush you get. Goal setting and the journey to achieving the goal should be fun as well.
Once you have your goals written out, plot them into your agenda or on a vision board for you to stay motivated on your journey. You can also set a positive reward system for the milestones on your journey such as fitness accessories or clothing for every 5 or 10 pounds lost if your goal is to lose a big number.
When you write down your goals with a manageable schedule you’ll stay motivated throughout the year and be able to tackle your goals in no time!
Got any goals of your own this year? Start your accountability step by sharing your top goals in the comments below.