Tips for Setting Powerful Goals – Being SMART

I can’t tell you how many times I sat with a pen and paper to list out my goals for the next year, 5 years, next month, or even this week.   I’m a “write it down” kind of person.  Seems like it becomes more real if I see it on paper.  My first step is to write at the top of the page… “Goals”.  Next I quickly start with the number 1, where I wait .. for inspiration. Goals can be a bit daunting.

The problem is that most people don’t know what they want.  In their head, it seems clear.  I want to lose weight or find a new job.   But the specifics can intimidate even the most driven person.  It can help to think of it as just a to-do list, a set of things to get done.  Keep in mind that you can scratch something off this list at any time.  Not all goals at the time of their conception are perfectly suited for that time.   Another exercise to try is to throw all caution to the wind, create a crazy, over-the-top wish list of things you may (or may not) want in your life.  Sometimes what shows up on this list can be a little surprising.  Hm, I had no idea that I wanted to learn the bagpipes in Scotland (yes, this is actually on my bucket list).

Here’s a list to create a framework to help you with creating powerful goals.

  1. They must come from you.
    It is vital that your goals be yours.  Evaluate.  Reflect.  Listen.  Be honest with yourself.  Often times our family, friends, teachers and mentors can have an impact on what we think and what we want.   Once you write your goal, it helps to really ask yourself, “Is this what I want”.  Sit.  Listen.  Our minds will work towards whatever goal we put out there.  But, is it where YOU want to end up?  When you let others determine your goals, you can be sabotaging your own future.
  2. SMART goals
    Goals that are generalizations are often times never come to fruition.  Your conscious mind needs a target to hit.  It needs to know where it is going, exactly.  Without specific coordinates, we can aimlessly wander for years.

    1. Specific:  What is it that you exactly one.  Goals are not a place in which to be vague.  Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results.
    2. Measurable:   Give yourself a measurable result.  How much profit do you want to make in your business?  How many pounds do you want to lose?
    3. Attainable:  One of the most detrimental things people do, is set your goals too high.  I will be the last person to encourage someone to deflate their goal. But you HAVE to be able to think you can actually attain the goal.  You have to believe you can do it.   Goals that are set too high, are often set so high on the premise of HOPE.  You hope you can get there.  Meeting a goal needs belief, not hope.
    4. Realistic:  A goal has to be something we can reasonably achieve.  If you are a 5 foot person, it may not be reasonable to set the goal of being a star player in the NBA.  You could, people have set and met more unrealistic goals.  But to meet an unrealistic goal, you have to do a LOT of work on your identity and be super solid in your motivation, determination and drive.   Instead of setting the goal to be a star NBA player, set the goal to break record for number of consecutive free throws.  Somewhere in your unrealistic goal is the sweet spot of pushing yourself past your comfort zone, yet not so far past that it is too difficult to attain.
    5. Timely:   Attach a time frame to your goal.   When will you have it complete!  This will be a first step in breaking the goal into smaller steps, with smaller time frames.
  3. Formulate Goals in the Positive
    Develop goals with a positive slant.   What you focus on you find.  What you focus on grows.   Focusing on what you don’t want, just brings that closer to you.   If your goal is to “stop procrastinating”, you mind hears “procrastinate” and brings that closer to you.   If your goal is “do not eat donuts”, you hear “donuts” and want them even more.   Instead, focus on what you want.  Replace “stop procrastinating” with “work on it daily”.    Replace “do not eat donuts” with “choose healthy and yummy snacks”.
  4. Ask and answer the hard questions
    Once you understand the basic elements of a goal, it is time to ask yourself the hard questions.   Find quiet time, where you can sit in peace with each of your answers.  Below is a list of great questions to ask yourself:

    1. What do you want to accomplish?
    2. What do you want to experience?
    3. What do you want to acquire?
    4. Who do you want to be?

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