Some people are natural goals setters and always like to have at least one to strive for. Other people hate even the word ‘goal’, but setting goals, or targets, or having dreams really helps us to focus on where we want to get to. And once we know where we want to get to, we can start making a plan for how we are going to get there.
But not all goals are created equal.
To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to set ‘good goals’. And to do that, you need to follow these simple golden rules 🙂
Make your goals are specific as possible.
If we take the analogy of a car journey, jumping into the car and plugging ‘London’ into the sat nav when you’re off to meet a friend means that you will get to London, but you are very unlikely to actually find your friend.
It you have a specific address, or a postcode, you will get there no problem (London traffic permitting), and it’s the same with goals.
If you want to write a book, or run a marathon, that’s fabulous. But what specific book do you want to write? What is it about? How many words will it be? Can you visualise it in your mind’s eye – what does it look like? For the marathon – which marathon do you want to run, and when? What time do you want to aim for?
Get really clear about exactly where you’re headed and you’re so much more likely to get there.
Make sure you can measure your progress and your goal.
Think about how you are going to measure your progress, and how you will know when you’ve achieved your goal.
With the car journey analogy, progress can be measured in miles, and you’ll know you’re there, because you’ll be able to jump out of the car and give your friend a big hug.
For a book, you can measure your progress with your word count, or number of chapters written. Is your end goal the final draft on your computer, or is it a physical copy of the published book?
Make your goal achievable.
As much as I am a fab of ‘stretch goals’, ones that take you out of your comfort zone (because that’s where the magic happens 🙂 ), goals also need to be achievable. If they’re just too big and scary, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and paralysed and to give up before you even get started.
If your goal feels too big, try chunking it down, or extending your time frame. If writing a 1000 page novel in 4 weeks feels unachievable, what does feel achievable for 4 weeks – is it the first chapter, or the first 100 pages?
Give your goal a deadline.
Some people need deadlines more than others – I totally need deadlines, and my husband is always rolling his eyes at me for leaving things until the last minute, but I’ve accepted now that that’s how I work best, and I get it done.
But all goals need a deadline, otherwise you will just drift. “I want to run a marathon” or “I want to write a book” is very different from “I want to run a marathon in April 2018” or “I want to write a book by December 2017”. Once you have a deadline in place, you can start to put some time frames around your milestones, and start to chunk your goal down into bite sized pieces.
‘Good Goals’ are written down.
Once you’ve nailed down your goal, how you are going to measure it and when it needs to be done by, WRITE IT DOWN!
According to the good old inter web, people who write their goals down are between 50 and 80% more likely to achieve them.
So write it down. And then stick it somewhere you will see it every day.
Your subconscious brain is a powerful thing, and once it knows where you want to go, it will do everything in it’s power to get you there – give it a helping hand by reminding it regularly!
I’m not a fan of wanky business acronyms, but I’m sure many of you will have recognised the “SMART” goals in my ‘golden rules’ – SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. And as wanky as it sounds, it really does work!
So what’s your goal for the next month, or next 3 months, or the next year?
Is it a ‘smart goal’? A ‘good goal’?
Do share below – it can count as your written down bit and I’m always happy to provide a spot of accountability 😉