It’s almost that time of the year again when our social media timelines will be full of “New Year New Me” quotes. You know as much as I do that half the time we end up with the same exact goals year after year. Have you ever wondered why? It’s not that you don’t want to change, or incorporate better habits, and or level up in your professional life. These are all GOOD things.
So why do we find ourselves at square one year after year on our goals?
As an executive coach whose niche is mindset and performance improvement, my job is to help people define their current state, where they want to be, and provide them with tools to help them get there. Goal setting and habit forming are the most talked about skills in 90% of my sessions.
To help set you up for success we will go through creating SMART goals and touch on the power and impact habits and mindset shifts.
Set SMART Goals.
No, your goals don’t have to be clever but they have to be S.M.A.R.T.
SMART is an Acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable (aka Action Plan), Relevant/Realistic, and Timed.
What exactly do you want to accomplish and why?
Any task we want to complete can be a goal. When deciding on your goals ask yourself WHY you want to accomplish X. The goals we achieve are normally rooted in an intrinsic desire or a purpose that is bigger than us and or impacts the people we hold dear.
Get clear on your WHY.
A specific goal with a clear why sounds like “ I want to save $10, 000 next year for a down payment on my first home”. Notice I didn’t say “I need to save money to buy a house”.
How are you going to measure your success?
Tie your goal to a number or very clear accomplishments.
If you want to go to college you first have to graduate high school. Passing or failing a grade is a qualitative measure.
If you want to save $10, 000 for your house, you must save at least $834 a month. Meeting that savings “mini-goal” a month guarantees that you will meet your larger goal at the end of the year.
Attainable (aka Action Plan)
What is your action plan?
What daily, weekly, monthly actions do you need to take to meet your goal?
Using the home buying example HOW are you going to save $834 a month?
An action plan for this goal could look like this:
- I am going to open a savings account with a different financial institution from the one I currently use
- Every pay period I will have $417 transferred into that account automatically
- To accommodate this change, I will make the following adjustments to my budget and lifestyle
o (list budget and lifestyle changes)
How does this goal fit into your current state and lifestyle?
For lofty goals, is this a realistic starting point for yourself?
If making millions through real estate investments is your goal, as someone that doesn’t yet own any property, a goal that is relevant to your current state and more realistic is saving up to purchase your first property.
Start where you are with what you have.
Going back to our example, if your living expenses and lifestyle don’t allow for you to save $834 a month and not feel it hit your pockets then let’s adjust the total amount you are saving up and go from $10 to $5K. That or instead of giving ourselves a year, make it two years.
What is your due date for this goal? A year? A month? A week?
Have an end date in mind and then break it down into smaller “chunks” when creating your action plan.
You’ll notice that we started with a goal to save 10, 000K in a year.
We then calculated that we would need to save $834 a month.
That then translated to saving $417 per pay period.
This is called chunking – breaking down something big into smaller digestible and achievable ‘chunks”. Do it with the goal, the time frame, and actions needed to achieve your goal.
Setting specific, measurable, attainable goals that have an action plan, are realistic, and have a deadline is really the easy part of goal setting.
I’ll leave you with some bullets to consider as you start working towards your goals:
- Your habits, the things you do every day, will determine whether or not you meet your goal. Commit to doing at least ONE THING daily that contributes to the goal that you have set.
- Monitor your internal dialogue. If you believe you can do it – you will. The same is true if you don’t.
- Having an accountability buddy will help
- Pair your new habits with the things you like or the things that bring you joy. E.g. commit to running every morning at a trail close to your fav coffee shop so you can reward yourself with a cup of java afterward.
- Avoid focusing on more than 2-3 goals at a time.
Give yourself grace. Life happens and oftentimes what we think is going to be a straight shot from point A to B ends up with enough detours to include all the letters of the alphabet AND numbers. All you can do is your best and trust God/Source/the Universe with the rest.
Create a plan, work the plan, and don’t be shy about changing the plan as needed.
Written by: Dee Nova, MBA
Company Name: Nova Conxulting