Happy New Year!! For many, with the new year comes new goals and inspiration to accomplish the things you put off in the years past. Many people see the new year as a fresh start—a time to start working toward something they have put off or feel hesitant they can accomplish in the first place. This indeed is a great time to start working on those goals. It isn’t too late to start! What goal or goals have you made for 2017? What are the goals you have put off? How do you plan to accomplish them this year? Sometimes it is hard to really answer those questions, especially when the goals you have are big. Sometimes it seems like a daunting task to accomplish the goals you have set for the year. There are some simple things to keep in mind to make your goals more attainable.
When working on your goal, setting it up as a SMART goal will help you be more successful with your goals. SMART is an acronym for making your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. This is a goal formula that is used in many areas of life and work. When setting up your goal you want it to be specific. If it is too broad, then you can feel overwhelmed or not have enough focus on one area in order to achieve your end goal. The specifics help you focus your efforts and clearly define what you aim to achieve.
Measurable is the next piece of a SMART goal. If you are not able to measure your goal, how will you be able to manage it? How will you know you are on track with your goal? I encourage people to identify ways in which you can measure progress toward achieving your goal. When you are measuring the progress of your goal, it helps you to stay on track and you gain a sense of accomplishment in seeing the progress you have made. That accomplishment spurs you to continue forward with your goals.
When making your goal SMART, it should be attainable. The goal should not be something super easy, but not so difficult that you will not be able to accomplish it within a reasonable amount of time. This is pretty straightforward; you don’t want to make your goals something that will tear you down due to the inability of attaining it. You want a goal that empowers you to move forward toward your dreams.
A SMART goal is a realistic goal. Think of it in the sense that the goal is something you really want to make real. The goal should push you to do new things, but not to a point of breaking. Questions you can ask yourself, to make sure your goal is realistic, are: “Is the goal worth it?” and “Am I reaching for what can become real?”
The last piece of a SMART goal is timely. This helps you look at your goal in a way to identify a time frame for reaching your goal. I would suggest when setting your goal, make your goal time frame no longer than a year. That is still a large time frame, but as you will see in the next section, you can break that goal down further. If a goal is longer than a year, you can loose motivation in working toward the goal. If the goal will really take longer than a year, break it down and make the main goal something you can accomplish within the first year. The time frame on a goal can be much shorter than a year, as well. Either way having a time frame for your goal will help you stay motivated to accomplish it by the deadline.
One of the things I encourage people to do is break down their larger goal into smaller steps/goals that can be attained in shorter periods of time. If it is going to take you a year to achieve your goal, breaking it into smaller steps will help you stay on track and not feel overwhelmed. Smaller steps help keep you motivated toward your larger goal and you gain the sense of accomplishment for achieving the smaller goal. It is a way to build you up, one layer at a time, toward that larger goal.
So how do you break your goal down into smaller steps? Think about your goal and make a list of the things you need to accomplish to achieve the goal. Identify the ones that are major pieces of the goal and create a plan for which ones need to be accomplished first. Take a fitness goal; if your goal is to run a marathon in 2017, this is not something you can just start running the 26 miles the next day. You would set smaller goals of running 3 miles, 6 miles, 10 miles and so on. For a goal of living healthier, consider starting with drinking more water to keep you hydrated. Then maybe add making sure you eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal, from there set a goal of making dinner 3x a week rather than eating out as often. For a larger goal, it is the same idea you may just have more steps to get you there. The idea of breaking down goals into baby steps is to help you stay motivated along the way and help you gain a sense of accomplishment for the things you have done to work toward your goal. There is something great when you take time to recognize the things you have accomplished rather than focusing on how much more you have to accomplish toward your goal. Discuss giving reasonable time frame.
Accountability is an important piece to accomplishing goals. There are a few different ways you can practice accountability. Keep yourself accountable through tracking your goal progress and setting rewards when you get to certain points of your goal. Bullet journaling is a great way to keep yourself accountable. If keeping yourself accountable is not something that comes easy for you, consider having someone there that you can check in with. If someone else knows about your goals, it helps you to continue moving forward. When choosing this person, make sure it is someone who is actually supportive and builds you up in the process and is not overly critical. Another way you can create a space of accountability with another is create a competition with a friend or family member. Competition can motivate people to keep on track with goals and if that is the route for you this can be a good option.
With these few steps, they can help you achieve your goals for 2017 and continue to work on developing the life you dream of. If you need additional support in achieving your goals or find you would prefer someone objective to support you in your journey, a life coach is a great person to utilize for accountability, support and keeping on track to reach your goals. They can even be the person who helps you hammer out and define your goals. A life coach can be there to support you and keep you accountable as you work to achieve your goals. If this is an area where you struggle, consider a life coach. They can be beneficial in your journey and helps you take charge of your life.
If you are interested in learning about how Crossroads can help you on your journey, please visit our website: www.counselingphoenixscottsdale.com
Blog written by Jena Hernandez, Certified Life Coach, MAT