This Tuesday just also happens to be September 1st, so it seems like the PERFECT time to write a post about goal-setting. Something that I have learned in life is that if you want to make progress or effect change, you have to be intentional about it. I am so guilty of saying things like, “I want to lose weight” or “I wish my house were clean” or “We need to do better about saving money.” And then what happens? Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Which is why I want to talk about goal setting, and the difference between a goal and a desire. A good goal is a MAP to get to your desire.
|I want to lose weight||Exercise 3x/week, 30+ minutes|
|I want to have a cleaner home||Spend 1 hour everyday cleaning/organizing home, 5 days per week|
|I want to save money||Create a budget, monitor progress weekly|
You can see, based on these examples, that the goal helps get you to the desire, but the desire is not in and of itself a SMART goal. You’ll notice I put SMART in all caps for a reason. I want to share a framework with you for setting effective goals. It’s a framework that shows up over and over again in business literature, and which I find very effective in both my personal and professional life. The framework is called SMART, which is an acronym for:
Let’s take a closer look.
As illustrated above, vague goals don’t get you anywhere. Do you get in your car without knowing where you are going? Okay, maybe if your purpose is to just drive around. But you don’t want to just drive around when you’re setting a goal! You want to know where you want to get to! Try asking yourself, ” What is my desire or purpose?” Aka, where do you want your map to take you. And then ask, “What is something I can do to GET there.”
You want your goal to something you can measure. For example, if I say I want to “Be healthier,” that is not only vague, but it’s not something I can measure. How will I know if I am successful at my goal if it’s not measurable? Try figuring out a way to quantify your actions.
Have you ever looked at a task, and been completely overwhelmed or daunted? Like you just wanted to give up? That’s what we do when we set unattainable goals for ourselves. If you look at my example desires and goals above, for having a cleaner house I wrote “Spend 1 hour everyday cleaning/organizing home, 5 days per week.” This was my way of trying to write an attainable goal. I built in some freebies during the week. If that were my goal, then that doesn’t mean that I CAN’T do it everyday. But if I ended up working late on day two, and not doing any cleaning, I didn’t want to feel like I failed at my goal. When we feel like we’ve already failed, we are liable to give up. If you are starting a running program, your goal at the end of a month won’t be to run a marathon. Maybe that will be your ultimate goal, and you can set miniature goals to get there. Running is actually a GREAT example for this, because you can start with a 5k, and once you hit that goal, build up to a 10k, and then a half, and then a whole marathon!
The point is, if you want change, you want your goal to be CHALLENGING, but still POSSIBLE.
Does your goal get you to your end point? If my desire is to save money, but the goal that I write is to limit how much time I spend watching tv to 1 hour a day, then my map is taking me to my destination (unless I’m a compulsive home shopper!). Also make sure that your goal changes something. Again, if my desire is to save money, and my goal is to “Eat out only once per week,” that will only help if I’m currently eating out MORE than once per week. Also, this goal has a trap. You can eat out at McDonald’s 5x per week or eat out at a fancy restaurant 1x per week, and still not save money. A better goal would be to limit the amount of money being spent on eating out. Watch out for those traps!
If you are going to measure your goals, you need a time dimension in order to track progress. Is your goal to do something weekly? Is your goal to get to a specific place by the end of the month? You’ll notice in my table that each proposed goal has time dimension. Three times per week. I also recommend setting a secondary time dimension, like, “In the month of September, I will do x three times/week.” That way, at the end of September you can do a check in and see if you want to adjust, change, or throw out your goal. Make sense?
I want to take this opportunity to share a few goals that I have for myself this month:
I signed up for a 10k on Sept 13th. before I had the accident, and had been working on towards a new PR. After the accident, I couldn’t exercise for a month. Now I am, 13 days from the 10k, and can barely run a mile nonstop. Clearly, my previous goal is out of the question, but I still have some time to work up to something prior to the race. My hope is to run the first 5k, in less than 40 minutes. Right now, I am run-walking at a 15 minute/mile pace. I think this race will be a good chance to motivate me to get exercising again and set a baseline for me to improve moving forward.
Goal: Run four times before the race. Cover a distance of atleast 3 miles each time, regardless of if I can run the entire thing or need to run-walk. After the race, assess where I am and set a new running goal.
I want to me more consistent in blogging, and really start to create my “voice” and identify what I really enjoy writing about.
Goal: Post You Can, Tuesday on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Post other content atleast once per week.
One of the things I love doing is creating. I find that it keeps me busy while still giving me “down” time in the evenings. I am always pinning things, but don’t always actually do anything. Now that I have an awesome craft room at home, I want to start crafting again!
Goal: This month, I want to try one new craft, post one sellable thing to Etsy, and share one tutorial on my blog.
What goals do you have for September?
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