How do you feel about pop quizzes? Don’t worry, you won’t be graded (and truthfully, I’ll never know your answer unless you’re feeling brave and let me know with a comment below 😉 ) Without thinking too much about it, which one do you identify with more?
Are you a
> > Goal getter: sets goals and crushes them every single time no matter how long it takes
> > Goal forget-er: sets goals, well more like sends wishes out into the universe hoping/wishing/ praying/ crossing your fingers that they will just somehow happen. Then are constantly feeling discouraged and defeated when you’re not anywhere closer to where you wanted to be…
If you’re already a goal getter, congrats! Keep doing what you’re doing. Hit reply and let me know your system 🙂
If however, you answered goal forget-er, read on.
I was the latter for most of my life. I don’t think I really remember hitting a goal that I had deliberately set for myself until I was in my early 20s. Before that it seemed like everything was either dumb luck or my stubbornness working in my favor for once..While that might seem cool and all, it isn’t a predictable way to go after your goals.
Sure, you need resilience and belief in order to achieve things you’ve never achieved before. But you also need a bit of a plan, a clear vision, and you may even need to learn a few skills along the way.
Before you Google goal setting strategies, here are two of the most common goal setting techniques I’ve seen. I tend to oscillate somewhere between. I like having goals bound by time, but I’ve also had to learn to not beat myself up if I miss a goal deadline. It’s ok to not reach your goals as long as you are taking action every single day towards them. In all reality is less about the success in hitting your goals and more about who you become in the process.
After all, we tend to set goals because we think they will bring us something…usually it’s joy, fulfillment, happiness, peace, contentment, worthiness, value, etc. Spoiler alert, you don’t actually need to wait until you hit your goals to feel those things right now.
So, do you set SMART goals or Process goals?
There is a good chance you’ve heard or seen SMART goals at least once in your life even if you didn’t realize it at the time. A SMART goal by definition is- specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and is bound by time. An example of a SMART goal would be:
I will walk 5x a week every week until August 31, 2018.
With this you see that it is specific, we know what you will be doing. It is also measurable. You can track whether or not you walked 5x a week. It is also quite achievable and realistic. And of course setting a ‘done by date’ or deadline, gives you a time parameter.
>Things I like about SMART goals<<
They are clear and defined. You know what you are doing, how often, and you have the sense of urgency a deadline can bring.
You can become defeated or discouraged if you constantly set goals based on a hard deadline. Let’s say you have the goal of losing weight by a specific event. Let’s say your goal is to drop 10 pounds by summer. So you set your SMART goal and you execute daily on the the specific action or actions you decided on. You’re consistent, you’re diligent, you’re committed. You don’t miss your workouts and your diet is nearly perfect, except the occasional treat here or there. You’re doing everything right.
You hop on the scale after several weeks of this stellar behavior, and BAM! You’ve only lost 3 pounds. Does that mean you failed because you didn’t lose the entire 10 pounds? Does that mean that you didn’t work hard enough? Does that mean you should not celebrate what you did accomplish?
But depending on how your mind works, those are some of the thoughts that might be racing through your head. How do I know? Because that was me. I still catch myself at times going back to that old way of thinking. Habits are hard to break, and our self-talk is no different.
I’m also not a huge fan of only setting realistic goals..think about this for a moment. If you have a goal of losing 100 pounds, yet you’ve never done that before. Does the goal feel realistic in the moment? Likely not. Why? because you’ve probably never lost 100 pounds before, but have probably tried to 100 times before. I’d like to offer that we swap realistic for possible. Is the goal in the realm of possibilities? Has anyone else ever in the history of humanity achieved the goal? Could it be done within the natural realm of possibilities? If you can answer yes to either of those, then its a goal worth setting no matter how crazy it might seem.
Process goals vary from SMART goals in that it focuses more on, you guessed it, the process. These types of goals tend to be less focused on the outcome and more focussed on the consistency of a desired action. Process goals emphasize the importance of the journey and prioritize who you become along the way over what you achieve.
In my honest opinion I think this is perhaps a more biblical way of looking at setting goals. Why? Well, we can’t control an outcome no matter how hard we hustle, how diligent or driven we are, or how obsessed we become. We can simply control how well we showed up each day.
If the thought of setting a deadline overwhelms you and brings on anxiety, then I’d like to suggest that you may want to consider setting goals that focus on specific actions you can take. That instead of measuring whether or not you hit a specific goal ie weight loss that you also measure and focus on the in between–where you are now and where you’d like to be someday.
Remember, you will never truly ever reach the finish line. Goals are intended to inspire us to become slightly better today than we were yesterday. Not because you aren’t good enough as you are, but because you were created to be so much more. Who doesn’t want to reach their absolute fullest potential? Its not necessarily for this life that we strive for those things, but for the one we were created for.
Regardless of where you are in life and how you have or have not reached past goals, you can always make strides towards the vision you have for yourself. Just might take rolling up your sleeves and doing a little work…Your ability to imagine for yourself the life you want to be living will be the ultimate litmus test for whether or not your goals are either realistic or achievable.
Get out there and shine,
PS. If you need a little help mapping out your goals, here is my gift to you