It’s that time of year! Time to start thinking about setting goals. How do I even start the process to set goals for 2020 you might be asking? Have you ever heard the saying “a goal without a plan is just a wish”? Planning is key! Find a place where you can have some quiet time to think. Somewhere you can give yourself, your undivided attention. Get a cup of coffee or your beverage of choice and sit down with a paper and pen and let’s get started. Here are some pointers to start the process.
A goal without a plan, is just a wish”
2019-A Year In Review
This can be a good starting point. Ask yourself these questions:
- what did my year look like in 2019?
- did I have goals in 2019 and how did they go?
- what did I achieve this year?
- what did I not achieve this year? Do those goals still serve me?
What Changes Do I Want To See?
Even a statement like this can be rather overwhelming can’t it? Life is so busy. There is so much going on and it’s hard to focus on any one thing, much less pinpoint anything. Let’s divide them into categories and break them down into chunks that are easier to work with. Some of these categories may hit home for you and others might not. No worries. If a category doesn’t affect you, move to the next one. If you need to add something to a category, go ahead.
Health and Wellness
- Weight loss goals
- Get more physically fit
- Be healthier
- get out of debt
- save money for emergencies
- save for a dream vacation
- change careers
- get a promotion at work
- start a side business
- decrease my stress by reducing my commitments
- get adequate rest routinely
- run a 5K
- decrease the clutter in my house
- create my own space at home e.g. “she-shed”
- stage a donation area at home
These are all strictly examples of possible goals. Sitting down and taking stock of your life can help you come up with goals that will make a positive impact on your life. This is important step #1! We will get more specific with your goal as you read on here.
So I Have My Goal. What Now?
Now that you have your goal, you want to understand WHY you want that goal. I can’t stress to you enough how important knowing your WHY is. When you have your goal and WHY you want that goal it clearly defines what you are after. Let’s take the example goal of getting healthier. Ask yourself “why do I want to be healthier?” Why do you feel you need to be healthier? Some possible answers could be, “I want to be healthier because…”
- I am now on blood pressure and cholesterol meds because of my eating habits and lack of exercise
- Gaining 30 lbs has made me feel more tired and my knees hurt more
- I have aging parents who depend on me and I need to be in a good physical shape myself to help as needed
You can see what you are like now. Can you see what you will be like when you reach your goal? Taking this example again, can you see how you will look when you are 30 lbs less? Will you see yourself energized and playing with your kids or grandkids without sore knees? Is your doctor thrilled with your weight loss? Is your BP back to normal and have a normal cholesterol blood level now? Do you hear the doctor telling you, you can stop taking those medications? Are you more confident and assured to look after others when needed, when you have done such a good job looking after yourself? This “vision” is what will remind you of what you are working toward. This is a part of your inner motivation.
The Vision is Vital
Having that “vision” is so important and it can really be cemented into your psyche by writing it out as well. I am including a Goal Setting Workbook to accompany this article. Fill it out and keep it somewhere that you will be reminded of it often. Put it in a planner. Have it on your desk. In your purse. Posted on the fridge. Somewhere that can remind you without a doubt what you are aiming for. It’s TOO powerful!
I have written a comprehensive post on setting up your goal and understanding your “why”. It is called, “Define ‘Your Big Picture’ and Reach Your Goal Weight“. If you’d like a little more insight into the importance of your WHY read this article.
Now How Do I Reach My Goal?
To create the game plan, you want to setup a process to reach your big goal. At this point, you know your big goal and the reasons why you want to reach your goal. The question now becomes, “how do I achieve my why?” Let’s look at our example.
|GOAL-I want to be healthier|
|#1WHY-I want to get off my blood pressure and cholesterol meds for better health|
#2WHY-I want to be less tired
#3WHY-I want to be more physically and mentally able to be there for my family
|#1HOW-I need to eat healthier|
-I need to know what to eat
#2HOW-I need to get more sleep at night
-I need to have less commitments in my life that make me tired
#3HOW-I need to understand what “makes me tick” to be able to handle stressful
situations in my future
|#1STRATEGY-Understand what healthy eating is by joining Noom|
#2STRATEGY-Open up my time schedule by reducing my commitments
#3STRATEGY-Understand how my behaviour affects my eating habits by joining
Questions, questions, questions!! The more questions you ask yourself, the more strategies (or steps) you will come up with to achieve your HOW. The strategies are steps that you take to achieve a smaller goal (your how). You also learn and develop good habits along the way that can carry your through.
The Goal Setting Blueprint
In essence, the reason why goals so often go unachieved, is because it looks so monumental! It’s so far off in the distance, it seems unachievable. When you break the process down into digestible chunks, work from your ultimate goal and work your way down to where you are at now. Concentrate on these smaller pieces, achieve them and move forward, your momentum builds! You achieve more and more and develop good habits in the process that carry onward and you reach your pinnacle. James Clear describes these steps as systems and explains them beautifully in his book, “Atomic Habits“. If you have not read his book, it is one that I highly recommend. It will change the way you look at goal setting and habit building.
If you want something bad enough, do yourself a favour and plan it out. Follow these steps I have outlined here and be sure to download your Goal Setting Workbook here and watch how much you can accomplish. By reaching your smaller goals and developing good habits along the way, this ultimate goal can be something that carries you through for many years and indeed… a lifetime! There is no time like the present! Do something good for yourself and your future-SET GOALS!
Frequently Asked Questions
I think that really depends on the person. If you are someone who works well with deadlines, setting one will likely work well for you to achieve your goals. If you know a goal is well into the future such as a year or more off, you may well do better to concentrate more on reaching shorter term goals.
Yes. The long term goal will give you the vision for what you are working toward. Meeting short term goals will give you the momentum to keep moving forward.
Yes. Along with having a vision in your mind of what you want to achieve on down the road, having concrete goals set on paper will be a reminder of the goal process you started in the beginning.
Your personal circumstances may change over time which may require a shift in your approach to your goals, so changing them could be a possibility. There is no problem in shifting your goals if your needs change.
After years of weight issues, I have finally found the formula of combining healthy food choices, regular exercise and positive behavior change to lose weight for good. Coupled with, exploring self-development, being productive and living simply, I am now maintaining a healthy lifestyle and in a good place. I enjoy writing articles to help my readers to become the best they can be!