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The concept of setting personal goals can be a very useful tool to organize your thoughts, pause for a plan and take a breath when you get through the first step of identifying why you want/need to set a goal. It is very important that you take your time with this step and make sure you are not setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. What is the intention behind this goal for you? Why do you want to accomplish this goal? What does the goal mean to you? Give it a personal purpose. For example, Do you want to:
- Lose Weight.
- Live a Healthy Lifestyle.
- Be your own boss.
- Financial Independence.
- Runaway and Explore the World.
- Be Productive.
- Manage Time More Effectively.
- Have Balance and Harmony in Life.
- Not lose your damn mind.
There are so many ways we can "improve" our lives so that we can "feel better". The thoughts spin and swirl until you land on a goal and say YES that's what I want, that will make my life better. This is the intention behind setting a goal right? We want something better for ourselves. Here is the tricky part..... This is often the time when we get tangled up because our goal and our reality are likely to be in conflict with one another if we don't think it through. Let's break it down. Thoughts to consider when you want to identify a goal:
- Are you setting this goal due to the opinions and thoughts of other people? Yep, I said it. We often times we find ourselves comparing and crapping all over ourselves because of what we see and hear from our environment! Be kind to yourself. Be honest with yourself. Is this goal really something that will elevate you to feeling better or do you think once you accomplish this goal it will change someone's perceptive of you? A personal goal is for you, not them. If you do it for them or because they say you should do it then you set yourself up for a double heartbreak and are likely to not maintain the results. Create a clear vision and allow room to be grateful for the present moment too.
- Does your personal goal affect the people in your environment? Will the steps that you will be taking create a change in the routine? The people around you are not required to change too. It is always nice and most definitely helpful if they are supportive; however, it is not a requirement so be sure to identify what you have control over and what you don't so that you can set realistic expectations for yourself. Be considerate of others. Ask for help and support. Have realistic expectations of those around you.
- Life is Happening Now! Goals are a great way to motivate us and keep us hopeful toward better things to come. Goals can also create a sense of hopelessness that we are not where we "want" to be or that what we want is so far out of reach. Stay grateful for the present moment. Stay grounded in today while feeding your tomorrow. When creating your goal be sure to realistically identify the time frame giving allowances for the present so that you don't get lost in the tomorrows. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow.
After we decide on the goal we then go into the steps toward reaching the goal. What works for one person doesn't work for another person. We know this because there are a billion "answers" to solve a billion "problems". We seek out the gurus and experts who know all the things. We talk to our people around us and seek out their "wisdom" because they have "been there done that". We do our research by scrolling through hours of pages on the internet and through multiple platforms of data sources. I don't know about you but by this point, my brain has just about exploded from the overload of information and all the options that are available. This is the point when setting goals becomes just one more damn thing that I don't have the time or patience for because this girl is tired. Someone tell me what the RIGHT answer is already?!?! I'm tired of the fight. I'm tired of everything having to be so damn hard. I'm tired of having to make so many decisions. When setting goals becomes another thing added to the pile of "things to do" it can make the whole concept seem ridiculous. Wait...What?!?! Isn't goal setting "supposed" to be a "good way" for us to establish a plan to obtain what we want out of life? Maybe it's a TRAP! Maybe goal setting is just a way for us to find a focus and not allow distractions to derail us from losing hope for the future. Hope that we can take steps toward creating a better future for ourselves. Goal Setting creates FAITH in the FUTURE! So why not set goals? Why not find hope in that the things that don't seem to fit in our lives right now CAN be improved if we just put in a little work? YOU GOT THIS! but how..... Let's get S.M.A.R.T.
In 1981 George T. Doran wrote about setting goals using the SMART method in the issue of Management Review. Later, Professor Robert S. Rubin (Saint Louis University) expanded on this SMART method in The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology creating an in-depth look into how to successfully set obtainable goals. The SMART method breaks down goals into five categories: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Specific: Get specific with what you are seeking. Create a clear vision. KISS (keep it simple silly). Keep it realistic within your own world. Be sure to take into consideration all the motivators you have for setting the goal. Make the goal personal to you and only you.
Measurable: Be honest with yourself when defining what the goal is and what it means to you. Give your goal personal meaning. What will it look like when you have accomplished your goal? Identify what will keep you focused and motivated to take the action steps.
Achievable: Identify what factors you have control over and what you don't in your environment. Remember to take into consideration how your action steps will affect your environment and the people in your life so that you can accommodate accordingly. Set goals for the future while staying in the present.
Relevant: Give yourself space to mess up. Take your time to do your research and find what works best for you. There are so many options and steps to take but that doesn't mean you have to do all the things. Pick a few that fit and start somewhere. Celebrate your successes. If the steps you take don't work out change it up and keep going. It's a marathon, not a race.
Time-bound: Be realistic with your time frame and expectations. Be sure to leave space for life to happen because life ALWAYS happens. Consider all the factors of the cost of the goal.... how much time do you realistically need, how much money do you need and what sacrifices will you be making to make your goal happen within your set parameters.
Does your head hurt yet? I know mine does! It's super important for successful goal setting to take your time and give yourself the opportunity to make it meaningful to you! The purpose of setting and achieving a goal is NOT the END RESULT! The purpose of goal setting is to feed your focus and to give you an opportunity to adjust, adapt and allow for life to happen in the present moment while you are growing toward tomorrow.
I hope this helps! If you want someone to help you walk you through the process of setting goals just let me know I would be happy to help.
Take care of yourself and each other!
~Jessicca Shumard, MS, LPC (Elevating Peaceful Purpose)