It’s common for people to complicate the goal-setting process. Your goals do not have to be big and bold life-changing feats. They can be as small as committing to taking three breaths before you get out of bed every morning and setting up your mindset for the day, or going for a walk every Saturday no matter what the weather serves up.
Often the small daily goals we set and act upon have the most powerful impact and offer the greatest reward over time as they become habits. We can also set big juicy goals such as starting a business, committing to a relationship, running a marathon, and break them down into bite-size plans within set time parameters.
- Set goals with intention.
Really own them and have a strong and genuine desire to achieve them. For instance, you might make it non-negotiable to go to the gym at 6 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with full commitment. The simplicity of the goal means no thinking is now required – you can just tick it off your list on those days as it’s in the diary for the year.
- Write down your goals.
Often said as, ‘Don’t think it, ink it’, this is how we bring goals to life. Write them on paper, on a whiteboard, or type them if you have to. Make sure you can see them every single day: they are your road map to the vision you have created for your life. A study by psychology professor Dr Gail Matthews found that participants who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who simply thought about their goals. Written goals give you clarity and commitment.
- Make sure they are specific goals.
This is the difference between the goal ‘I want to lose weight’ and ‘I want to lose 5 kilos in five months’. Clarity makes it easy to plan how to achieve the goal and will start you in a mode of action.
- Give yourself a deadline.
Ensure your timeline is achievable and marked in your diary. Simple effective planning of when you will do something equals incredible results.
- Bite-size chunks.
Under each goal, write down the three bullet points that will back it up. For example, ‘To lose 5 kilos in five months, I will go to the gym at 6 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; I will quit drinking sugar-laden soft drinks; I will commit to portion-sizing my meals to decrease my calorie intake.’
- Evaluate daily.
What is not measured will never be mastered or finished. The most effective key to reviewing your goals is to reflect on them daily, even for just five minutes.
- Reward your success.
Savour the moment when you get there. It will fuel you towards your next goal-setting endeavour.
The secret to accomplishing what matters most to you is committing to your goals in writing. Put them somewhere so you can see them daily, whether that’s on the fridge, a mirror, the car’s dash, at the front of your diary, next to your bed, in your wallet or as a daily reminder on your phone.