Welcome back, and Happy New Year! It’s the tail end of January so saying Happy New Year is still acceptable. I know for many of you the 1st of the year is already a distant memory but being that my purpose is to help YOU take back control, I’m going to bring you back to reality which is we’re less than 30 days into 2015 and we have an entire mind blowing year ahead of us. Cheers to that!
Now that we’re all in the present moment, let’s do a quick “resolution” check. How are they coming along? And more importantly do you even remember what they ARE?
I can tell you that for years I’d find myself disappointed and discouraged by this time of the year. I felt like a complete failure because I’d yet to start on my resolution or had already failed. Give up drinking coffee – Ya, maybe not today… i’ll start tomorrow.
Anyways, I have a confession to make. I’m not a fan of setting New Year’s Resolutions. Yup, you heard me. Now this may not come as a surprise as I’m hearing more and more coaches express the same thing. Here’s my top two reasons why:
Remember last year’s resolution, did you complete it? If so, congrats!!! You are part of the 8% of people who did. If you didn’t then I’m sure at some point you felt like a failure (like I did) and eventually moved on. Ouch! I don’t want you to feel like a failure because the truth is YOU’RE NOT, the resolution system however, IS.
Here’s how you become a part of the 8% who DO achieve their “resolutions”. First stop calling them “resolutions” and think of them instead as goal or intentions. Next, make these goals SMART. If you want to have a successful 2015 then you have to get S.M.A.R.T. about your goals. The acronym has been used for years as a goal setting best practice across all industries and disciplines, whether you are looking to lose weight or get your dream job, S.M.A.R.T. goals will get you there.
I’ve been dying to share this with you but I had to wait until after the “resolution hype” wore off. So, without further ado here’s my tried and tested process to create SMART goals that are sure to make your new habits STICK.
The entire process takes about an hour but trust me it’s well worth the time investment.
First take out a piece of paper and pen and write this down ” I am committed to myself”. I ask you to write this before you set out on your quest for SMART goals because this quest will require some time and commitment, set aside at least 1 hour. I know time is valuable and even though the holidays are over you are still BUSY, but this is important and YOU are important and YOUR goals are important. So stay committed in this process.
Now that you’re committed take a deep breath and let’s get started. Download this worksheet: 3 Simple Steps to Sticky Goals OR go through the steps below.
Take 10-20 minutes, close your eyes and ask yourself “What do I want? What is my dream? “It doesn’t have to be practical or logical, give yourself permission to dream BIG. I like to either sit and meditate on this or go for a walk with the question in mind.
Keeping your dream in mind write down 3 general goals (limit this to only 3 for now) then take each one through the SMART process below to transform them from simple to smart. Remember, a SMART goal is more likely to be successful.
Transform your goal: Simple to SMART
A goal should provide guidance and direction. General goals like ‘lose weight’, ‘get in shape’, ‘get a new job’ ‘eat better’, or ‘have less stress’ are far too vague and unspecific and are more likely lead to failure because YOU are more likely to bend on the goal vs. stick to it. Having detailed parameters gives you an exact framework around your goal so you know whether you are on target or way off.
Did you know that most people set the same goal at least 10 times and still don’t succeed!!! I believe it, I’ve been there and you may have been also.
One of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein sums it up: You can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. That’s insanity says Einstein. I agree, both from experience and science.
Back to SMART goals: Take each of your 3 general goals through the following process to refine them.
S – Specific: I think this by far is the most important step in goal setting because it defines the goal. Answer the 5w’s below to take your goal from general to specific.
Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Why: List specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Have your goal be like an instruction telling you what to do. EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would be, “Join a Crossfit gym and work out 5 times a week after work on Mon-Thursday and first thing in the morning on Saturday.
M – Measurable: If you don’t know where you started or where you are going you won’t know if you have gotten there.
Measurement is key. I suggest keeping a journal. To determine if your goal is measurable answer these questions for your goal:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Produce evidence for your progress. If your goal is to “reduce stress” create a stress measure for yourself like the number of times you get upset every day. Keep a log and record each stressful reaction.
A – Attainable: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck then it’s a duck!
When YOU set your goals and identify the goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways to make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals. You begin to look and feel like having achieved that goal and therefore do.
Your goal should be meaningful to you. It should be set by you, not someone else.
The goal should be inspiring enough that it motivates you to success. If you are not determined to meet your goal, obstacles will be very difficult to overcome.
If your doctor says, “lose weight” and your wife says, “lose weight” but you are not inspired by this, find another goal that also improves your health like playing golf or hiking.
Have integrity around your goals, recognize that no one is perfect and there are going to be difficult times that may make sticking to your goal challenging, rather than beating yourself up for falling off the goal, get back on!
R – Realistic: Keep it real! Set a goal that you are both willing and able to work to work towards.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Also ask yourself if you have ever done anything similar, for example have you ever been at your goal weight before in your life.
Goals should be ambitious, but not impossible. Do not set yourself up for failure.
Goals can be high and realistic. Remember it’s okay to go big! High goals are more often achieved because there is higher motivation
T – Time: We are a time-based society and doing something for time gets us moving real quick! Use your time wisely.
When will you finish your goal? Choose a time frame that is realistic and ambitious.
Saying “I will lose 20 pounds in 3 months” is good, but saying “I will lose an average of 2 pounds every week for 10 weeks” is better.
In this day and age asking someone to take a pen to paper is unheard of, but there’s something to be said for the thinking, writing, seeing, and saying that commits what you writing to memory. So for the purpose of this exercise physically WRITE your goals in a journal (you can add them to your online filing system later).
Finish the following sentence:
I will [your goal here] by [how you will do the goal]. I will know I am making progress because [how you will measure the goal] [time goes here].
For example: I will lose 20 pounds by increasing my exercise to 4 times a week and cutting back on sugar and portion size. I will know I am making progress because I will lose 2 pounds a week for ten weeks.
Here are some SMART goal examples:
Fitness example SMART goal: I will work out by doing cardiovascular activity of walking 3 days per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I will do this at the gym for 30-45 minutes from 5:45pm-6: 30pm. I will pack my gym clothes with me and bring them to work for no excuses.
Life Balance example SMART goal: I will take one hour for myself every evening of the workweek to turn off my work phone and computer. During this time, I will do something for me, spend time with my family, read a book, meditate or do something physically active around the house.
There you have it folks! I’ve been using this process for years and it’s helped me launch new careers, a new program, and achieve health and fitness goals.
Now that you have taken your goal from simple to SMART, go out and tweet it #SMART2015, blog it, wall it, SHARE IT! Also, let me know what your goals are by posting your SMART goals to comments below. I’ll start, check out my 2015 goals down below.