I wrote a long post that it seems the internet has eaten so I will do my best to re-create it for you here. This is part 1 of 3 on goal setting.
It’s that time of year again – time for New Year’s Resolutions. Does this sound familiar? This year I will lose weight / eat healthy / manage my finances / spend more time with the family / etc. Any or maybe even all of the above? Plus some others I haven’t listed? How has that been working out for you? Year after year of the same nonsense.
This year, let’s stop the insanity! I’m not saying don’t set goals to improve yourself and your life, but let’s stop with the resolutions and create goals. Real goals. Smart goals. Achievable goals. Well planned out goals that we don’t necessarily start for New Years. Now – how do we do that?
First, grab yourself a piece of paper and a pen. You can use my 2015 Goal Tracker if you’d like, it is my present to you. I recommend printing it as a booklet – 2 pages printed per side. Now, I want you to sit down and think about what you would like to achieve this year. Write it down. As it comes to you, write it all down. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
You back? Great! Now it’s time to spend some time prioritizing your list. What is most important to you? Really take some time to think about this. This is not about meeting some societal standard, it’s about changing yourself for the better and working on what is important to you in your life right now. Write numbers next to each item on your list. Once you do this, I want you to only focus on one or 2 goals at a time. We don’t want to overwhelm ourselves. We want to really plan and think out our most important goals. The others can wait for now.
Now I want you to make your goals specific, measurable and process (not outcome based). We’ll walk through an example together to illustrate the process. A common new years resolution is “I want to lose weight”. This is incredibly vague! I sometimes lose 2 pounds overnight from running too much and not drinking enough water. It’s just water weight. But technically speaking I lost weight. So am I done with my resolution? Maybe, maybe not. The resolution wasn’t specific enough. So, let’s change that vague resolution into a specific goal. I want to lose 15 pounds. This is a specific and measurable goal. However, it is outcome based. We can’t control outcomes, only the process we use to try to create outcomes. So, we need to change this goal up a bit.
Ask yourself – what is necessary to lose 15 pounds? Most likely you are going to say “eat well and exercise”. Ok, correct but how do we measure that? It’s not very specific. A specific, measurable, process based goal would be something along the lines of “I will go to the gym for 45 minutes 5 days a week”. On the nutrition front it would possibly be “I will substitute green leafy vegetables for starchy sides 6 nights a week”. Specific, measurable and process based. You can not control how much weight you lose each week (outcomes based goal) but you are completely in charge of getting to the gym 5 days a week and eating the vegetables rather than the starchy sides.
Your vague resolution of “I want to lose 15 pounds” became a measurable goal of “I will go to the gym for 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week and eat green leafy vegetables in lieu of starchy sides 6 nights a week”. You can control every piece of this and it is specific and measurable. Bingo! This is exactly what we are looking for. Also notice the last piece I snuck in here is the use of the “I will” statement, rather than “I want”. Start everything with “I will” and make it positive. Notice we didn’t say “I will not each starchy sides” it was “I will eat green leafy vegetables”. Always think and speak in the positive, it will really enhance your results.
Now that you know what to do, go through your list and really take your time working through your top 2 or 3 priorities. Tomorrow we will learn how to start planning for them.