“There is no manual for life.
Who you are, where you go, and how soon you get there is up to you.”
– Chip Wilson
One thing I’ve learned is that the only thing for certain in life is CHANGE. We all have a CHOICE in how we respond to change. “We can choose to believe something will empower us and move us forward or limit us and hold us back.” (1) Goal setting is a tool that assists us in making choices that help us get what we want in life. Through setting goals, we are able to become a sort of ‘director’ of our life, where we are able to clearly see the path ahead and direct our actions appropriately, thus flowing gracefully with Life.
“I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.”
– Duke Ellington
5 Steps To Writing Effective & Achievable Goals
We all have wishes and dreams. “I wish I was in better shape…”, “I wish I wasn’t so shy…”, “I wish I could afford to eat healthier…” Often what is lacking is focus and specificity, which are necessary to bring these wishes and dreams into reality. When we’re not clear and focused, our mind is more apt to turn toward negative thoughts and limiting beliefs making it difficult to do or achieve anything.
Conversely, a goal is “a written, measurable statement with a specific subject and a deadline”. When a goal is specific and measurable, we can more easily determine if we’ve achieved it.
Follow these five steps (2) and start creating your ideal life now:
- Use Affirmative Language – say what you WILL do, not what you won’t do. This focuses your energy on the desired outcome rather than the actions or behaviors that must stop. “I am a non-smoker” instead of “I don’t smoke.”
- Write In Present Tense– create goals that are powerful and meaningful to you. Write your goals in the present tense, as though they already happened. This gets your mind used to thinking that your dreams don’t have to be dreams; they can be reality. “I work out three times each week and am in better shape”
- Make It Measurable – if you can’t measure it, it’s not a goal. This can be challenging, but there is a way to write each of your goals so that they are measurable in some way. “I exercise twice a week”
- Be Concise – “I run on Mondays and Wednesdays”
- Be Specific – make your goals as specific and concise as possible. Keep it clear and simple, use minimal words, with no justification required. “I run for 45 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays”
- Determine When – attach a date to your goal. State the month in addition to the year. Dates keep you accountable. Don’t over-think things too much – just pick a date.
Determining Your “Why”
This could possibly be the most critical piece to goal setting. Having a powerful enough ‘Why’ can make the difference between achievement and failure.
WHY do you want to achieve this goal?
What is the intention behind it?
What is your motivating factor?
What will you gain in achieving this goal?
How will it add to your life?
These questions are reflective of how you truly want your life to be and how you want to see yourself. Close your eyes and feel this deep within you. What matters most to you at this point in your life? For example, if your goal is: I am 10 pounds lighter on March 1, what does losing 10 pounds mean for you? What will it feel like to be 10 pounds lighter? Why do you want to be 10 pounds lighter?
PPOA: Personal Plan of Action
What can you do right now to start to live this life? What things do you need to start doing to regain balance? What areas are consuming your time and energy? What can you STOP doing, reprioritize or delegate to someone else? Shift your focus from what you don’t want to what you do want and you will shift your reality. From here, begin to design the strategies that support you in what you want and need.
Setting inspiring goals is the first step on your path toward optimal health and wellbeing. There certainly will be bumps along the way. These are signposts reminding you to continue to be aware and readjust where necessary. Don’t try to take on too much all at once. This can wind up creating more of a negative reaction than a forward-moving action. Slow and steady, step by step! Celebrate the little successes along the way. Every accomplishment, no matter how small, is another supportive element toward your overall health. Just make sure that your celebrations aren’t counter to your goals – don’t celebrate losing 5 pounds by eating a bunch of cake!
Check out these resources for additional support in drafting your goals this New Year!
- The Magic 100 (Dax Moy) – a practical, user-friendly program that can help you achieve any goal.
- The Secret Code to Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Health and Happiness (Noah St. John) – a self-help book of sorts that teaches about success and achieving goals.
(1) Marcia Wieder, America’s Dream Coach, Accessing your Power
(2) Goaltender, Lululemon
We have included a template below that you can use to help craft and organize your goals. Print it out and write your goals in… take the time to hang it somewhere where you will see it. Take measurable steps every day to help reach your goals. The template helps you to be more specific to each area of your life rather than just those you are currently thinking about.
Here, you will find Big Sister’s goals using the template provided. She wrote up some general goals and then made them more specific and measurable using the template. Here are her general goals:
- Spend more time connecting with family and friends, spend more time in Nature
- Trim up body, CrossFit, running and stretching regimen
- Grow a garden, read a book for fun (not just for school)
- Stop eating when satiated, slow down, heal Gut
- Create a thriving nutrition consulting practice, organized and efficient
I, the Lil’ Sister have written my goals out in a different formula. I have also limited myself to a smaller number of goals (although I have many more, here are a few).
1 month – by Jan. 31, 2012
– I have gone an entire month eating foods that support my health and vitality. I do not eat grains, dairy or sugar. I eat up to 1-2 pieces of fruit per day. I have cut back drastically on my omega-6 fat intake by eliminating vegetable oils and decreasing my nut/seed intake. I eat real, whole foods.
3month – by Mar. 31, 2012
– I can do 5 strict pull-ups in a row without stopping!!!
6 month – by June 30, 2012
– I fit comfortably in my skinny jeans (which means I don’t have to suck in when I put them on, and I can bend over and squat comfortably and not show everyone my butt crack!)
1 year – by Dec. 31, 2012
– I sleep through the night and get 8+ hours of sleep every night.
– I have no tummy aches.
Now, take some time to come up with your goals for the year! Remember to think about the “why” behind your goals… and when you are ready, come share them with us here in our comments! Or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing your goals and helping to support you in achieving them!