Two Things about Setting Goals

Happy new year everyone! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and enjoy a fresh start and vibrant health during the New Year!

You have set some goals or resolutions for the New Year by now. And if you haven’t, don’t worry. It is never too late to do so. I’ve read a lot about goal setting over the past few weeks and I’ve noticed that most of the articles contain most of the same information. That you should:

·        Set SMART Goals. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time bound.

·        Write your goals down so that you are more likely to achieve them. Numerous studies (and likely personal experiences of your own or someone you know will validate this) have shown that writing your goals down greatly increases your chances of achieving them.

·        Plan both long term and short term goals. Short term goals help build momentum and are vital to achieving long term goals.

·        Review all goals frequently to stay motivated, monitor progress, make adjustments and keep them in the forefront of your mind.

This is all good, solid information that is highly valuable. What I didn’t see much of was the daily grind. The nitty gritty. Here are two things that will also be highly valuable to you as you work on making 2017 your best year yet.

1.      Setting goals can be hard work

Sure, anyone can sit down and write out “I want to lose weight” or “I want to make more money”. Chances of success for this kinds of goals is minimal because they are not specific. Focusing in and being as specific as possible takes a little extra work and planning. Even when specific goals are set, there is still the discipline of working toward them every day and evaluating your progress.

 Here is an example of a goal that is unlikely to be achieved even if written down: “I want to lose weight in 2017”. It is bland and general.

Here is an example of a well thought short term goal that is likely to be achieved: “I want to start my own business in January 2017. I will use my artistic skills to create hand- made greeting cards, which I will sell on my site store. I will start designing the cards on January 5 and offer 3 different types of cards (list them). I will look to sell 1 per day minimally at a cost of $5.00. I will set up my site/store by January 31 and be ready to sell then. I’ll get the word out to family and friends and on social media to build excitement and a potential customer base. This business will allow me to use my love of art to do fulfilling work and make extra money.

You can see the difference in the level of thought and effort between the two (and sadly, far too many set goals similar to the first example, hence why the percentage of people who actually achieve their goals remains in the single digits). It’s not just the extra effort that goes into setting the goal, it’s the details required to achieve it—setting up the store, creating the different types of cards, spreading the word about the business and doing it all within the timeframe.

2.      Failure is always an option

No matter how specific you are and how much you want to achieve your goal, there is a good chance you will fail at some point along the way. When that happens, you have two choices. You can become dejected, quit and beat yourself up for failing. Then wait another year, or years, to start again. Or you can view the failure and a learning opportunity and use it to be more efficient. Think about it, if you try option A and it doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean your goal is unattainable. It simply means there is a different, a better way to get to it. Thomas Edison failed more than 1,000 times when inventing the light bulb! One thousand times! His mindset was what kept him going and made him a success. He didn’t see it as failure, he saw it as “finding ways that didn’t work”.  By the way, Edison was a man who was once called “too stupid to learn anything” by his teachers. That’s not the way he perceived himself or his work and we’d all be very smart to learn from his example. Fail. Then find another way to get to your goal.

Whatever your goal in 2017, I wish you much success in achieving it! Put in the time and the work. Be disciplined. Set your sights high and give it all you have. It won’t be easy…but it will be worth it and it will change your life!