We all have dreams… big dreams, small dreams, visions of better health, a new career perhaps, marriage, children, abundance, maybe even fame if you wish. But without the goals to turn these dreams into a reality they will always remain just that, a dream.
Getting the wheels of productivity in motion always requires some form of planning, a boost of confidence, loads of self love, and quite often a bit of risk taking and stepping outside of our comfort zones. A long-term vision can sometimes seem so far out of reach, that the thought of getting there feels almost impossible. Setting specific goals or intentions each day, week and month, helps to break the dream down into workable, achievable steps and therefore makes the whole process much more manageable.
So what to do when it comes to goal setting?
Firstly, set a variety of goals, start with the end goal and work backwards from there. So think about these questions:
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now with your career, home life, relationships, and yourself?
- How do you feel five years from now (understanding how you feel is sometimes easier when it comes visualization because you can manifest on that feeling rather than a particular object)?
- Looking at your five-year vision, where do you see yourself in two years from now? How does your world look and feel knowing that you are working towards your five-year goal?
- Now think about one year from now (a year goes by so fast so it’s not really that far away!). What have you accomplished in those twelve months to get you closer to your big plan?
Then, it’s time for the more specific parts: the actual, attainable goals. When setting goals, it’s so important to make them SMART goals, meaning that they are:
Specific – Say exactly what it is that you will be doing. If your goal is about doing more exercise then it shouldn’t say “I will attend some more yoga classes next week”, but instead it SHOULD say “next week, I will book myself into the Wednesday night 6pm Vinyasa class at my local yoga studio”
Measurable – Give yourself specific numbers with each goal. Not “I will make some healthy meals next week” but rather “next week I will cook three recipes from my favourite website“
Achievable – Setting unachievable goals gets you nowhere. If you have only just started exercising but set a goal of entering a triathlon competition in one week, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
So instead of being all wishy washy, you need to be specific – when will you achieve this thing and how? With what support and what tools? What do you require in order to do it? Making goals that are specific leaves little room for error.
The one thing that I would add to the SMART goal concept is to make yourself accountable for your actions. So not only will you write down your goals, but you will also tell someone who cares for you, about your goals and why you wish to achieve them. Ask this person to hold you accountable and to check in with you every now and then on how you goals are going. This means it won’t be hard to just shove them under the carpet and forget about them!
Sometimes working with a Life or Wellness Coach can really help with this – someone to speak to, who can help you create meaning around your goals, set them in motion, and hold you accountable.
Once you understand HOW to set your goals, you should then work backwards from six months. So what are your goals for six months from now? This might just be one, or two things that you hope to have achieved, acquired or changed by that time. An example might be that you are a freelance journalist, and in six months from now your goal is to have at least one feature article of yours published in your favourite Magazine.
Working back again, we then narrow it down to three months from now. Your three month goal might be to have locked in at least three meetings with your favourite magazine editors for ongoing contract work, and have over ten new articles published on a combination of online and print platforms.
And finally, we implement our weekly goals for the next month. Using the example above, this might look like:
“In four weeks from now, I would have written and edited three articles and they will be ready to send off for review by my newly created list of publishing contacts”.
“In three weeks from now, I will allocate myself four hours every day to write my three feature articles”.
“In two weeks from now, I will have chosen my key topics and have contacted at least three people for each article to interview that week”.
“Next week, I am going to set aside three hours after work on Monday and Tuesday to plan my topics for my three feature articles which I want to send out in the hope of getting published. On Wednesday I am going to email and call at least ten people that I know within the publishing/blogging industry, to see if they would consider publishing some of my content on the topics I have chosen. On Thursday afternoon I am going to set aside two hours planning out my next three weeks in more detail so that I reach my monthly goal”.
As you can see from the above examples, goal setting is MUCH easier when you work backwards from the big picture, right down to what you plan to do tomorrow. Sometimes we set weekly goals without really knowing what the end outcome is going to be, and then we end up going around and around in circles not really feeling like we have much purpose.
My last little take away tips for goal setting are:
- Don’t set a million goals at once. You will feel VERY overwhelmed and stressed. Instead, perhaps choose two or three areas of your life where you feel change is most important to you and then allocate only a few goals to each of these.
- Use a diary or planner to keep you on track. There are plenty of amazing written journals and diaries that you can buy which are filled with motivational quotes to keep you feeling great the whole way through. Alternatively there are also some fantastic phone apps that do the same thing. Having everything written down and colour coded keeps things organized in your head.
- Set reminders on your phone for when your goals are due or close to being due so that you have something keeping you accountable all the time
- Celebrate your wins! Every time you accomplish a goal, do something you really love as a little pat on the back. This could be something as simple as going for a long relaxing walk, right through to taking yourself out for dinner, or treating yourself to a session at the day spa.
Happy goal setting!