The snow has been falling. The stars shine brighter. There is a new reborn emotion of hope. This time of year has a funny way of sneaking up on us and inspiring us to be more, to do more, and to look forward to do so…for about the first two weeks of the New Year.
Yes, we are inclined to feel inspired to set goals for 2015, but we need more than inspiration, we need action. So, the remainder of this post will discuss Zig Ziglar’s 7 Steps to Goal Setting, with the intention of providing you with insight to help you, knock your 2015 goals out of the ballpark! Let’s get started.
- Set the goal. It may sound easy, but setting a clear goal is half the battle. Set a goal that is clear, specific, and quantifiable. For example, rather than “lose weight” rephrase that goal to get specific. It may sound something like “My goal is to lose 18 pounds and two dress sizes within 3 months by attending yoga five times per week, meal prepping (500 calories per meal, non-processed diet, and rich of nutrition), eliminating empty calories (i.e. soda, booze, etc.) and maintaining my goal weight of XYZ through proper nutrition, exercise, and self-love. Effective goal setting, whether it is personal or professional, need to be specific and requires thought. If thinking about your specific goal(s) sounds tiresome at the start, get over it. If you truly want to achieve your goal, you need to get specific and set it.
- Set a deadline. Just as essential as getting specific about your goal, it is paramount to set a deadline. This is simply putting a date by which that goal should be reached. You may want to set milestone dates to celebrate short-wins toward your overall goal. For example, with the same goal as identified in Step 1, the deadline is within 3 months, this can be broken down more by getting specific with the date – Month, day, and year. Otherwise, it is not a firm goal. Which then can cause a preventable psychological obstacle of delaying the start, maintenance, and evaluation aspects associated with that goal.
- Identify the obstacles. Goal setting isn’t just about seeing the end result, but also, understanding the obstacles that can get in the way of achieving your desired results. This requires you to be open and honest with yourself. You need to hone in on behavior, resources, or other things that could delay or derail your goal(s). For example, the obstacles associated with the identified goal in this post may include: waking up at night and overeating, not going to the gym, excuses to delay or stop actions needed, etc. Understanding these obstacles can help you to help prepare yourself to overcome those obstacles, i.e. get rid of all the unhealthy food that makes night binge eating an obstacle, stock your fridge with healthy stuff, identify excuses that you know are lame – write them down, and post them somewhere next to your goal to reaffirm your dedication toward your goal and the emotion associated with your excuses – basically, you call yourself out, and set the environment that supports the actions you need to overcome such obstacles.
- Identify the people, groups, and/or organizations that can assist. Think of the people that can help to encourage, support, or assist you in achieving your goal(s). Avoid negative minded people. Identify who will not only support your decision, but will confidently help you to overcome obstacles, will aid you in knowledge, tools, and resources. Same goal as discussed, perhaps, key people: spouse, friends, yoga trainer, life coach, and nutritionist.
- List the benefits of achieving the goal. Think about how this goal(s) will change your current state. For example, with the fitness goal the benefits may include: healthier lifestyle, peaceful mental state from yoga and meditation, happiness that trickles over to my personal and professional life, minimize stress, fit in clothing better, stamina for 20 mile backpacking trip in June, etc. The idea of this activity is to visualize how achieving your goal will make you feel and the benefits that come along with achieving that goal.
- List the skills you need to achieve the goal. You may require additional knowledge or expertise to aid you in achieving your desired goal(s). It is helpful to identify if there are any particular skillsets that you need to achieve your goal. For example, with the fitness objective identified herein, the skills required: yoga, meditation, weightlifting, and nutrition. If a skill is lacking, such as nutrition, it will be helpful to seek out resources to gain nutrition skills, perhaps an online class, meeting with a nutritionist, reading a book about nutrition, etc. Identifying the skills needed helps to ensure that you’re placing a realistic goal that is achievable through your own skillsets or the skillsets that you will need to acquire to achieve the goal(s).
- Develop a plan. Here, you get concrete about your goal(s), dates, actions, people that can help with achieving the goal, benefits of achieving the goal, and skills needed. Basically, you organize the information within the 6 previous steps. You will need to discipline yourself to proactively work towards your goal every day. This requires daily analysis, evaluation, and planning daily to achieve your actions that get you closer to achieving your desired outcome. Likewise, with your planning, it is essential to be flexible to adjust actions if needed, not your desired outcome. If your actions are not working at a level in which you’re satisfied, you may need to change the actions, not the goal. Doing the same thing over and over again that doesn’t work, but you expect it to work is insanity, don’t do it. Be proactive, persistent, and prepared.
This time of year sends us a twinkle of hope to do more, be more, and inspires change. However, moving from inspiration to actual change requires goal setting. Goal setting requires purposeful intention to identifying, analyzing, planning, doing, and monitoring goals. The 7 tips discussed are strategies that you can use to aid you conceptualizing your inspirations and knock your 2015 goals out of the ballpark. Happy Goal Setting!!!
Have the best day ever!
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by Katie Doseck, Ph.D.
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC