How to set your goals and (actually) stick to them

Have you ever had a goal that you really wanted to achieve, but for whatever reason you never got around to actually making it happen? Maybe it was that 15 lbs. you wanted to lose or the business you wanted to start or painting your child’s room, because Paw Patrol isn’t cool anymore when they’re 14. Regardless of what the goal is, there are a few things you can do to set your goals and then have a fighting chance at bringing them to fruition.

Why is goal setting important? Well, because it is your first step toward achieving it. A goal left in your head and undocumented is merely a wish. Setting your goals also allows you to be intentional about your time and energy. Are you ready to slay your goals this year? Awesome! Let’s dig in.

Our 4 Tried and True Tips to Achieving Your Goals

1. Make sure your goals are tangible: Believe it or not, this is actually the hardest step! It’s also the most important, so you don’t want to rush this. We practice the theory of SMART Goals. So, what are SMART Goals? You may have heard this term before, especially if you do any type of yearly planning at work. SMART Goals are: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Start by making a list of your goals and then give them the 50K foot test. This was a saying we used in corporate, to discern if we were giving the leadership team too much info. If it didn’t pass the 50K foot test, then we took it out of the presentation. In this case, you’re testing for the opposite. If it sounds like something that is more of a vision statement, you need to get more granular. If it is too high-level then the goal isn’t SMART and it certainly isn’t going to be attainable.

Let’s illustrate this with an example. We recently had a client say her goal was, “To be a better mom.” Now, that’s a great vision that we all aspire to achieve, but there are a few problems. How will she know when she’s become a better mom? Seriously, think about it…still thinking? Exactly! It’s not specific enough. We have to dig deeper and understand what specifically would make her feel like a better mom. Maybe she wants to spend more time with her children that is uninterrupted by work – that’s a start. However, this still lacks the time-bound piece. So, a better goal for her might be as follows, “Spend one hour, three times a week with my son and daughter that is uninterrupted by work for the next three months.” Surely, this is a goal she can measure and she’ll know whether she achieves it or not each week.

As you start to plan out your SMART Goals, use this example to bring yourself back to attainable and achievable. We also encourage you to think about why you want these goals, what your life will look like when you achieve them? What’s the risk if you keep putting them off?

2. Focus on your top 3-5 goals: Recently a mentor said any goals beyond the top five were too many things to focus on. Newsflash: She was right! As soon as you put focus on the most important areas, they will skyrocket. This laser focus allows you to begin making serious dents in your goals. When you stop and think about it, that might have been the problem all along – you had too many goals. Perhaps you were simply focused on too many things and spreading your precious time and attention too thinly.

We’ve all heard the phrase Jack of All Trades, Master of None. Getting specific about your top goals will prevent you feeling frustrated and perpetually overwhelmed. It made sense to us to get specific and now they are words we live by.

Also, be sure to prioritize and consider which goals you can live without and which you can push out to a later date. Part of goal setting is figuring out what you can take off your plate, so that you’re more fully invested in what’s left on your plate.

Another mentor advised, your goals should fit on a post-it note. That approach fulfills two purposes:

1. It makes them more specific and tangible.

2. Post your goals where you can see them every day, so they will be top of mind.

3. Start small – Do one thing every day towards your goal(s): It can be really overwhelming to look at your goals and imagine them in their completed state. Consider when we started G.A.L. Talk. It was just an idea, but we had a laundry list of things we wanted to build and create. We knew we couldn’t go from point A to Z overnight, so we built a plan to slowly add programs and services over time. It suddenly felt attainable and we took a lot of pressure off ourselves...and you can too! If you had a goal to write a book, that could feel like a huge feat. What if you just carved out 10-minutes a day to write? We guarantee you could find 10-minutes during the day to get your thoughts on paper. Could you watch 10-minutes less of TV, scroll for 10-less minutes on social media, or let the laundry slide until tomorrow? Of course you could!

If the goal is really that important to you, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll start to find to work on achieving it. Use the timer on your phone, set it for 10-minutes, know that there’s an end time, and that you are going to put effort towards this goal for a set amount of time. Another tip, if you really want to guarantee success, block the time on your calendar for working on your goals. Make others respect your time and your dreams. If you respect it by committing to it, others will as well.

4. Get an accountability partner: It might sound a little hokey, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it. When you have a workout buddy, it’s harder to ditch that trip to the gym or the walk around the neighborhood. The same is true for your non-workout goals. If you have someone asking you about your progress and checking in to make sure you completed the tasks you said you were going to complete, you’re more likely to get them done. You’re welcome to pay someone to be your partner, but we suggest you start with a friend or someone in your tribe that would most likely love to do it for free. Ask around and don’t be surprised if you find support in the least likely places. They might need help in a different way from you too.

To ensure success, it’s best to communicate what you want your accountability partner to focus on and how frequently you want them to check in. Many arguments can be avoided by setting the parameters up front, especially if your spouse is your accountability partner. Trust us on this one.

Hopefully you find these goal setting tips helpful. You’re now 4 steps closer to achieving your goals. Leave a comment below and let us know how you’ve successfully set and achieved your goals. We’d love to hear from you!

Don't forget to focus on YOU, YOUR Goals, and always choose Happiness!

Sending good vibes and virtual hugs,

Karin & Nikki

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