9 Ways to Fail at Goal Setting
Goals are powerful. They can extend our vision and move us closer to our potential. They make it easier to create plans and to prioritize our lives so that we can accomplish what we set out to do. They can help us realize that the seemingly impossible is achievable when we put our whole force towards realizing our goals. Even though I have seen the powerful potential that goals have, I am THE WORST at setting New Year’s Resolutions. This year I am resolving to do better (terrible pun).
To help me – and you – make better goals that are achievable, I’ve compiled the following list of things I have learned NOT to do.
- Make vague and immeasurable goals like: Be Healthy. Be a better friend. Do the things I love.
Instead make SMART goals:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Relevant
T - Time-bound
For example: Walk 20 minutes every day and do a 5k in March. Go to lunch with a friend every Thursday. Audition for a play every other month.
- Set TONS of goals.
Don’t set a million goals. Instead, focus on 3 or 4 things that you really want to work on. When you focus your energy and brainpower in this way, you can get a lot more accomplished. It is also less overwhelming than trying to change your whole life at once.
- Make goals that other people want you to make.
Make sure that it is YOUR goal. If the goal is something that you make for another person, it won’t be high on your priority list. Don’t make goals for other people. Don’t make a decision to exercise and eat healthy because society says you should. Do it for you, because you want to feel better and take control of your life.
- Focus only on the big stuff.
Break down larger goals into smaller chunks that are more digestible. If you want to run a marathon in 2015, make a plan how much you are going to run each week to get you there.
- Think about your goals on New Year’s Eve… and that’s it.
Review your progress regularly. I like to take a look at my goals each Sunday and see how I am doing and what I can do during the week to realize my goals.
- Use your AMAZING memory.
Write it down. All the time. Put it somewhere where you can see it and be reminded on a regular basis. A thought is a good intention, but something written on a stickie on your mirror becomes a plan.
- Trust that the good vibes from accomplishing a goal will be enough motivation to achieve it.
Reward yourself. Have a specific reward assigned to achieving a goal. I had a friend who wanted a new phone and decided that they could get it once they payed off their credit card. Rewards can be very motivating.
- Do it yourself.
Share your goals with someone close. Ideally, find someone with a similar goal who can be your accountability buddy. It’s easier when you don’t have to do something alone.
- Hate yourself when you don’t accomplish a goal.
Realize that if you don’t achieve your goal you are not a failure. If you learn and are doing better, than you are on the right path. Don’t abuse yourself or hate yourself when you have to reframe or adapt your goals.
I will make better resolutions and see what I can accomplish during 2015. Let’s not suck at goal-writing this year!
Happy New Year!