Goal Setting Basics

Goal Setting Basics

The holiday season is always full of little serendipities and surprises. A few years back, I was fortunate enough to find this squirrel snacking on a Christmas Wreath at Historic Williamsburg, VA. The fruit was definitely a treat for him and made for a merry moment for me and my family.

Serendipity is wonderful, and you can spend your life enjoying the multiple ones that touch us every day, especially in a free country like America. Some of them are so obvious that we forget that they are fortunate happenings for us. Think about it. You probably had some rain recently, renewing the Earth. You have friends, family, and loved ones who care about you. You have access to all kinds of knowledge that can help you move forward in your activities, whether business, social, or family.

But to bank on serendipity as a life strategy is not a good idea. Good fortune does not happen by accident. It is the result of careful planning, action, and good choices. When it comes to achieving more than you ever have before in the coming year, it means being deliberate about the goals you set and taking the action required to achieve your goals.

When setting your goals, you want to be “SMART” about them, making them:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

study done at the University of Scranton showed that people who made specific New Year’s resolutions were 10 times more likely to achieve them than people with only a general idea. Gaining clarity is critical to creating a plan and putting things into motion.

Creating measurable goals is the only way to get a really specific goal. If you simply want to lose weight, where is your motivation? How do you know you are succeeding?

Achievable and Realistic go hand in hand. They are related to how well you believe in your goals. Not knowing how you are going to achieve your big, specific goal is not the same as not believing you can do it. The University of Scranton study showed that nearly 3 times as many people in their 20’s successfully achieve their resolutions than people in their 50’s. Why would that be? Setting goals you don’t believe you can achieve, or setting them for the wrong reasons leads to failure, and can actually do more harm to our psyche than if we never set a goal at all.

Timely goals are as important as specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic goals. When we don’t believe that there is any need to focus and get on our goals because they are so far away, we begin to procrastinate and allow distractions to get in our way. Better to schedule the start of a goal at a later time (making sure it is still realistic and achievable in the timeframe) so that you can focus on it without distraction. It also helps you keep the goal from being a distraction from your other more immediate priorities.

My hope for you in the coming year is that you will be healthy and prosperous. Don’t take a chance and wish for these things. Plan for them and you will be surprised at the number of additional serendipities you will find along the way.

If you would like some help establishing and achieving your New Year’s Resolutions, why not check into our Goal Achievement Bootcamp? See the sidebar for details or sign up here.

May your holidays be a blessed and prosperous time, whatever your tradition may be. And please allow me to wish you the merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year!

always with gratitude,

P.S. Have you ever had Figgie Pudding? I would love to know what it really is…!