What Everyone Should Know About Setting Goals
There are two ways to approach a road trip. You can pack up your suitcases, load up the car, fill your car up with gas, and see where life takes you.
Or you can be more intentional, pick a destination, plan out a route, determine how far you will go each day, what activities you want to be sure not to miss, or people you want to see along the way before packing, loading, and gassing up the car.
At first glance, you might say approach #1 is goal free, and approach #2 is all about goals. I want to challenge that thinking! In reality, there ARE goals involved in both scenarios! Setting out on a road trip to see where life takes you is about experiencing life, being in the moment, and savoring life. You might not consciously articulate it that way, but freedom, the chance to go where your curiosity takes you, and engage with the interesting people that cross your path, is a goal.
Goals provide direction in a powerful way. They determine where you will go and what the experience will be like along the way. If you are content to wander through life and see where it takes you, great! That’s one way to go. But if you to get somewhere specific, setting intentional goals are the way to go!
Your personality plays a part in how you approach goals. The four personalities handle goals in very different ways. Take a look:
There are some worthwhile benefits to setting goals and putting in the effort to work toward them for all personality types! Here are a dozen reasons for you to set and pursue goals:
- Provide direction like a compass to help you stay on track
- Create purpose
- Help you manage your time and resources so that you can get the most out of them
- Improve your decision making skills – who doesn’t need that?
- Encourage you to take responsibility for your life and work
- Refine your focus and help you prioritize
- Increase your awareness – a key trait in successful leaders!
- Reflect your passions – something that gets you out of bed in the morning!
- Lead to more a disciplined and productive life
- Invite you to be more resourceful
- Get you where you want to be faster
- Boost your confidence when you reach them!
Setting goals isn’t something you do haphazardly! The real money is not in the setting of the goals, but setting meaningful goals followed by small action steps that will ultimately lead you to where you want to be! That’s a process! And there’s no shame in adjusting your goals along the way as you clarify where you ultimately want to end up.
Ready to set some goals?
If you are a “Driving Drew” you probably already have goals in the works. If you are a “Steady Steve” you might be glazing over right now. Either way, I promise setting goals gets easier and I want you to enjoy all the many benefits I’ve already mentioned! Here are a few tips to help you establish goals that you will be especially excited about!
Yes, give yourself the chance to not just dream, but to dream BIG! Where would you like to be in 5-10 years? What really excites you? What motivates you? Don’t limit yourself to a small corner of your life. What would it look like to dream BIG when it comes to your…
- Attitudes & emotions
- Health & wellbeing
- Sense of fun and adventure
- Activities that make your heart happy
- Ability to meaningfully contribute to the world
- Relationship with God
2. Take Inventory
Are there areas of your life that need some attention; places you’ve put on the back burner or ignoring? That’s the perfect opportunity to set goals and make positive life giving changes that will help you THRIVE personally and professionally!
3. Future First!
When setting goals, you want to begin with the end in mind so start thinking 5-10 years out in the future. Then determine what steps needs to take place to help you get where you want to be. You’ll want to determine yearly goals, quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily goals. I know for some of you that might sounds like a whole lot of goals, but it is actually breaking that big dream down into manageable pieces. For many, goals are so looming that it is intimidating just to get started. When you work backwards and start with the future it allows you to create doable incremental steps and that is a whole lot less menacing.
4. Be Positive!
Put the effort into framing your goals in a positive way. Rather than setting a goal to “Stop making silly mistakes when you give a presentation” set a goal to “Become an engaging, polished, and relaxed presenter.” And keep that positivity going as you come up with your baby steps!
5. Write Them Down
Don’t just come up your goals and try to carry them around in your head. Give it a day or two and you will forget them.
Write your goals down and keep them in front of you. I like to write my goals down and then keep a copy in my planner and another copy under the clear plastic protector on my desk so that I can refer to them every day to remind myself to prioritize the activities that will help me reach my goals.
6. Small Steps
While your goals can be extra-large, your daily action steps are better when they are small. If you try to take steps that are too big it can be overwhelming and lead to frustration. On the other hand, successfully completing the baby steps is quite motivating!
7. In Your Control
Be sure your goals depend on you rather than others. For example, Don’t set a goal to get a promotion – you can’t promote yourself. Instead, set a goal to engage in specific activities that will enable you to move up professionally such as hire a coach, take the lead on two projects, and/or regularly ask for feedback so you can make the right adjustments to how you are working.
Your goal structure is your foundation. It’s worth the extra time to create the proper foundation for reaching your goals. You need to understand your motivation (your why), your ultimate destination, and the daily actions steps that will lead you to where you want to go. You need to clear the land or eliminate anything that might be a distraction or tempt you to get off track. If you are attempting to lose weight, that might mean tossing the cookies and junk food in your pantry. Create a timeline – deadlines! Establish a support structure – a coach, accountability partner, reminder apps, calendaring your milestones – whatever you need to give yourself the best shot at reaching your goals!
9. Be SMART
Make your goals…
Specific: State exactly what you want to accomplish in clear, concise, and concrete terms.
Measurable: How will you know you’ve met your goal? Will you measure with money, time, or something else?
Attainable: Is your goal dependent on you? Do you believe you can reach this goal with focused effort and some stretch?
Relevant: Is this goal really worthwhile? Is it in conflict with other goals?
Time-Bound: Your goal must have a deadline; a sense of urgency.
For many of you, simply reaching the goal is enough because you are internally motivated. For others, having a reward of some kind is more motivating because your externally motivated.
What good are goals anyway? Well, they are invaluable if you want to accomplish something significant or want to be successful – however you define success!
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to setting goals?