Happy New Year! It’s that time of year again. Healthy food sales are up. Fast food sales are down. The gyms are packed. This is the year. You’re going to eat healthy, get in shape, volunteer more, donate more to charity, clean out the garage, end that toxic relationship, stop swearing so much …… The list goes on and on. We have the best intentions. What goes wrong? New Year’s Resolutions without actionable plans and accountability are just wispy wishes. Yes, we mean well, but life gets in the way and we lose focus. So how do we change that? How do we keep on track to make our goals really happen?
The first thing we have to do is decide how important that goal is anyway. WHY do we want to achieve it? What’s the worst that can happen if we don’t? What will we have to give up? Is the pain of remaining where we are greater than the pain of making the goal happen? Or is it more trouble than it’s worth? If that’s the case, then pick another goal, because that one is not happening.
If we decide the goal really is something that we want, then we need to make it a SMART goal. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time sensitive. Let’s walk through an example. Say you want to stop smoking. Most people agree that is a worthy goal, so let’s break it down.
Specific – Stop smoking. That is specific. Cutting back, only smoking cigars, only smoking at certain times, etc. is not specific.
Measurable – when you are smoking zero percent of the time – that is quite measurable. Perhaps it will be better for you to quit cold turkey. Maybe it will be better if you taper off. We’ll talk about mini goals in a minute.
Achievable – lots of people quit smoking. In theory this goal is achievable, but there may be circumstances in your life that make it unachievable in the time frame you choose.
Realistic – This is a realistic goal, depending on your circumstances and time frame.
Time Specific – Set a time frame you believe will work. Sometime this year doesn’t cut it. Examples: by March 1, 2019, immediately after finals, when a specific project is done. If you set a time and that becomes unrealistic, you can change the time without giving up on the whole goal.
Sometimes a large goal can seem so overwhelming that we don’t know where to start. That’s where mini-goals come in. Start small and celebrate your achievements to create a pattern of success. If you are now smoking two packs a day, set a goal to cut back a certain amount each week. This is much less daunting than stopping all at once. Mini goals should always support and move you toward the main goal.
Once you have your SMART goal set, you will need to set up an action plan (which will include your mini-goals) and some accountability. Be very specific about your action plan. Write down what you will do each day to get to your goal. Write down what activities and environments you need to alter. Spend time with people who understand and support your goal.
And last, but definitely not least, you need to set up some accountability. This can be a journal you keep, a friend you check in with, or a coach. If you pick a friend or family member, be sure that person supports your goal. Sometime people say they want to help you, but they may have more to gain if you do not achieve your goal. Once you set up this accountability, then reward yourself for your successes – even the little ones.
As a life coach, I help people achieve the results they seek. I provide guidance in setting the goal, realistic optimism in setting the plan, and the necessary encouragement and accountability for working the plan. Goals are much easier to achieve if you have this kind of support in place. If you need help making your resolutions into realities, give me a call at 512-917-2930 or send me an email at Rebecca@DestiniesUnlimited.com to schedule a FREE introductory session. Let’s get you moving forward!