I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer. I love operating in the world of possibility- it feeds my creative side in an important way. However, for me dreaming is not enough. I also want these dreams to take on a life and become a reality. That’s the hard part, turning the invisible, visible. It’s the step between a dream and reality that is the most important and most often the step we neglect. That’s because it’s where the hard work, introspection, and grit comes into play. It’s that middle part that can be the downfall for some people. Maybe they aren’t sure where to start in trying to make their dreams a reality, or maybe they know how to get started, but aren’t quite sure of what to do next, or some simply don’t have the motivation or patience to keep it going.
Whatever the case may be, as long as you have a desire and drive, you can set small goals for yourself to help you work towards achieving your dreams. That’s why I want to share with you what I have learned over the years that helps make that middle part, the planning and implementing part, a little bit easier and more enjoyable.
*Please note, it is a lot of information so I am going to split it up between two blog posts, so check back next Sunday for the rest of my tips on how to achieve your goals!
1. Find your why and set your goal
First, goals need to be personal and align with your purpose and passion, your true north. It’s important to make sure you really know why you want to work toward something and how it connects to you. If you set a goal that is intended for someone else, you will quickly abandon it and it could turn into regret for doing something for someone that did not pan out the way you thought it would. Also, be aware that some goals are “ultimate goals” and might need smaller goals to be made that can be reached first to help keep you motivated and successful in reaching that ultimate goal.
For this blog post I am going to use a personal goal as an example: I want to lose 15 lbs by September 1st. My why, is to feel better about myself and improve my overall health. My ultimate goal might be to lose more, but I’m starting with this smaller goal that I know I can reach, so I don’t start out discouraged.
2. Is your goal S.M.A.R.T.?
Once you are confident that your goal is personal, it’s important to define specifically can you accomplish this goal. I use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. to help get started. It stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.” S.M.A.R.T. goals are valuable because you know exactly what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it by, and if it is a realistic goal that sets you up for success.
For example, making a goal of “I want to lose weight” is not a S.M.A.R.T. goal, it is
too generic. By stating “I want to lose 15 lbs by September 1st” I am creating a goal (amount to lose by a certain date) that is measurable (I can fall short of my goal or exceed it), attainable (it is an amount and time frame that I can lose in a healthy manner), realistic (I am not setting myself up for failure by giving myself too little time or too much weight to lose), and timely (it is the right time for me to start this goal and have I given myself a good timeline to accomplish it by). If my goal had been “I want to lose 15 lbs in two weeks,” hopefully a red flag would have come up as I went through the S.M.A.R.T. checklist that would show it was not attainable, realistic, or timely.
3. Hold yourself accountable
You need to hold yourself accountable to reach your goal. One way to start is by saying your goal out loud and turning it into a statement rather than a wish. By saying it out loud the goal will seem less scary or crazy to you. It also will become more of a personal statement and promise that you make to yourself. For me, my goal of “I want to lose 15 lbs by September 1st” becomes “I will lose 15 lbs by September 1st” when I say it out loud. Then, just like I do with my #MondayMantras, I write down my goal and put it in a place where I will see it and be reminded and motivated to work towards it. Depending on my goal, I put it on my vision board or in my bullet journal (we’ll talk more about vision boards and bullet journals in a future blog post!). Writing it down and saying it out loud also helps commit it to memory by making it real and becomes somewhat of a contract to yourself. Remember, that the promises you make to yourself are some of the most important ones to keep!
This is a good start to get you going this week. I challenge you to come up with a goal, make sure it is S.M.A.R.T., and write it down. Next week I will give you more tips on how to successfully accomplish your goals and put a plan into action!