Have you ever set a resolution and seen it through?
Did you set yourself any resolutions this year?
Are you still going strong in your pursuit of your goals and dreams?
Or are you struggling?
Saying things to yourself, (and other people), like:
‘I’m gonna try again, next week….seriously, I am’
If statistics are to believed, then only 12% of you are still ploughing on with your new year’s resolutions, yep 88% of people don’t keep up with their resolutions.
Personally, I don’t set resolutions. I SET GOALS
Years ago, I used to set New year’s resolutions.
‘I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna do that’.
‘I’m going to go here and I’m going to go there’.
Then about two or three weeks into the New year, the resolutions usually went out the window. Usually when the first pay packet of the year came in and I had money again, and the desire to change would leave me and I would probably end up going out clubbing or something like that. You see when a new year starts we get that sense of new beginnings ‘Out with old, in with the new’ and we feel really motivated to make positive changes in our lives. However, as the year starts to settle and the new year greetings finish (usually by the 19th at the latest). Old habits start to creep back in and it gets harder and harder to maintain that desire.
That is why I live by the maxim ‘Why put off till tomorrow, what you can do today’
I mean, if you are going to set yourself targets and goals to improve yourself and your life why do we have to wait until the start of a new year.
I found in the past that my New Year resolutions, and indeed when I first started to set goals, didn’t work because I would set unrealistic targets for myself, then I didn’t keep track of my progress and generally ended up forgetting about them as that thing called life came calling, and like a bitch I went running.
I have also come to realise that the reason other people don’t achieve their resolutions or goals is because people set too many goals at the same time for themselves as well as not making the goals specific.
If that sounds like you then read on I have something here that might be just what you are looking for.
In the days when I didn’t set myself goals to achieve I would often find myself drifting through life with no real purpose. I was like a bag blowing in the wind.
When we don’t set ourselves goals we relinquish our basic right to shape our future and we miss out on fulfilling our dreams.
We ALL have dreams, even if we have hidden them away locked up inside our fears of failure/success or doubts about our perceived limitations. It good to dream, healthy even. But, if we don’t turn our dreams into goals they remain dreams. A goal is a dream with a date.
Below is a set of resolutions my friend of mine set (don’t worry I have her permission to show you them). I am showing you these goals because many people tend to set their goals out in this way and then struggle to achieve them.
Interestingly enough, my friend has already set new GOALS for herself already.
Take a look at her goals below and then at the end of this article for a bit of fun reset them correctly using the correct goal setting procedure that follows:
Here is my guide for setting goals
Will your goals be practical, doing, being or having goals?
How many goals will you set yourself?
Are they going to be realistic, challenging yet achievable?
You may already know the goals that you want to set for yourself in which case go ahead and set them. But if you are feeling like things in your life need to change and you are not sure what exactly it is you want to change then a valuable tool to use to help you is the WHEEL OF LIFE model.
This Is where you look at all areas of your life, rate each area of 10 and then decide which areas you want to work on improving.
Now, think about WHY you are setting these goals. (Remembering your ‘why’ will help you in times of motivation lack). Then emotionally attach yourself to your goals-imagine yourself achieving the goals. What will you feel like? What will people be saying to you? What will you be seeing? How will it positively impact on you and others?
A popular goal people tend to set themselves is TO LOSE WEIGHT. I personally do not believe it is a positive goal. Losing is a negative term. I prefer to use statements like TO BECOME A HEALTHIER WEIGHT, TO MANAGE MY WEIGHT BETTER or TO BECOME X STONES AND POUNDS.
Say these statements to yourself and compare them to the LOSE WEIGHT statement. Do you notice any difference?
BE POSITIVE WITH YOUR GOALS
Now you have set your goals, you need to ensure that they are specific. Setting yourself goals like Stop smoking or Go on holiday or lose weight are far too flimsy and doesn’t encourage your brain to take your goals seriously. The goals need to be as specific as can be so that your actions are focused and directed.
Once upon a time when I wanted to leave an old job I kept saying to myself and others ‘I’m going to leave this job, I want to leave’ But leaving my goal this way opened me up to suffering as I would get caught up In the usual day to day hustle and bustle and the end for me in this job just didn’t look like ever appearing. When I made a firm decision to leave my job by that Christmas I became more focused with a date to aim for. I eventually left three weeks before that Christmas.
Take a moment and quietly say to yourself ‘I’m going to stop smoking’ now say to yourself ‘I am going to become a non-smoker by March’ You have more focus on the 2nd quote. The first quote says you are going to stop smoking, but when? If you leave the brain with that information it will act in that way. Stop smoking could happen 10 years from now. The second statement is both positive and specific.
BE SPECIFIC WITH YOUR GOALS
4 CONGRUENT WITH VALUES
I used to really struggle with a goal that I had set myself around studying for a qualification. I really wanted to do well with this subject I was studying, but I was kept finding myself pissed off with the course and I didn’t know why i was feeling so much resentment towards it and the work I had to do.
People would say to me ‘Damian, enjoy the process’ but as much as I tried I couldn’t ‘bloody enjoy the process’.
In time I came to realise that even though I really REALLY wanted this qualification it was not in line with my values. You see I had worked very, very hard for a number of years, and I had finally got work/life balance. I had promised myself I was going to relax more and enjoy life. So now, I was getting home from work earlier, but I was going straight into studying and this was compromising my new found value…… RELAXING. Relaxing and studying don’t go hand in hand, so my goal and my value were clashing hence why I had so much resentment to the assignments I needed to complete. I just wanted to relax after so many years of overtime. In hindsight I should have ensured that my values and my goals were aligned. A good plan would have been to study for two hours a night and then relax with a movie afterwards.
So, in essence imagine a person who on a whim decides they want to run a marathon but smoke 20 a day, they really enjoy this habit and health is not high on your agenda, there will be a problem at some stage. Most probably when the training sessions kick in.
ALIGN YOUR GOALS WITH YOUR VALUES.
5.PLAN OF ACTION
When I was a youth worker many many moons ago my manager at the time used to always say to me
‘You need a plan’
and I always used to retort
‘No I don’t’.
I was happy as a youth worker and had a dream to move into management at some point, but I was as happy as Larry doing what I was doing. I was sure it would happen at some point.
Anyway, a lady who became a youth worker AFTER me ended up in a management role BEFORE me….because I didn’t have a plan and she did. Being happy go lucky with no concrete plan didn’t help me advance in my career at that stage in my life.
A goal without a plan is a dream. Just a dream.
Having a plan of action will bridge the gap from where you are to where you want to be. Work through your plan step by step to maximise the chances to achieving your goals.
You can use the WHEEL OF LIFE to help you in having a plan of action. Say for example you were a 4 in career and you want to be an 8. You look at 4 and you ask yourself ‘what do I need to get from a 4 to an 8’ and then formulate a plan.
6. SET A REVIEW/DEADLINE DATE
Your goals need to be reviewed regularly, especially if they are long term goals, so that you know if you are on track. It is quite common for people to set goals and then leave them without any review date or time frame to achieve them. I will usually review my goals every 3 months, that way they stay fresh and accounts for the inevitable obstacles that will arise. Setting a review date also keeps you focused on the job in hand and a deadline to aim for. When you review your goal you can look at what worked well and what didn’t. Is the goal now achieved or is it ongoing?
I also use review dates or deadlines in my PLAN OF ACTION.
So, let’s say I have a goal TO BECOME A BETTER SWIMMER BY JULY. I know now my review or deadline is July. My plan of action will then be filled with tasks such: Book 1st session by 12pm February 15th.
7. DISPLAY YOUR GOALS
Now you have done all that hard work in setting your goals, you will need to display them. You can display them on your fridge or somewhere you know you will see them EVERYDAY.
Seeing your goals displayed is a powerful daily reminder of what you what to achieve and leaves no room for excuses around not doing them. It will act as a motivator too.
Displaying your goals will incline the mind to subconsciously move you toward actioning your goals.
8. SUPPORT NETWORK
With any goal you will need some form of support. Tell people what your goals are so you get the right support from family and friends and making them aware will allow them to not talk you into things that will spoil your goal. For instance, if you are going to start hitting the gym and eating healthy you don’t need your mates asking to go pub on a Friday night.
Who are your cheerleaders? Surround yourself with the right people and the right environment.
You might even decide you DON’T need certain people or influences in your support network, because they might, say hold you back. That is fine but identify that early on and act accordingly.
9 REWARD YOURSELF
How will you celebrate when you achieve your goal?
If you have a really big goal, you should have rewards and treats lined up along the way for reaching milestones. Rewarding yourself is important because goals are challenging and there will be times you will feel like giving up. Just the thought of your reward can put an extra spring in your step.
So, there it is HOW TO REALLY SET GOALS.
Setting goals and the work that goes into it can be time consuming, but the results are the end will be worth it.
Before you go, for a bit of fun I would like you to go back to the goals my friend set and see if you can set her goals correctly.
HAVE FUN! (and remember you don’t have to wait until a New year for a new you)