Goal-setting is the development of a plan of action designed to motivate and guide you towards a specific goal. Goals are more deliberate than thinking about a desire for something or a momentary intention that will disappear with the next thought or action. Setting goals means that you commit time to thinking about your goals, writing them down in some way, getting emotional about these goals and beginning to change your behavior to achieve these goals. In other words; the more you think, act, delve into, rework, rewrite, hash out, discuss, or plan your goals – the stronger they become and the action needed becomes more clear and you can focus on what and how you will achieve these goals.
When setting goals, focus on 3 types:
- Process goals - specific actions or processes of performing. For instance: mediate for 5 mins every day.
- Performance goals - based on personal standards. For instance: aiming to achieve a good grade in a class you are taking.
- Outcome goals - based on winning. For instance: getting a promotion at work.
Setting goals is only the first step in this process. Next in the process is achieving and attaining the goals that we set. How many times have you written out a list of goals only to find it months later with nothing checked off or done? You are not alone. Most people begin the new year setting goals only to break them, or not achieve them at all, and then frustration and defeat sets in. To help you achieve the goals you set – be S.M.A.R.T. about setting your goals. The S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for:
Specific – (simple, sensible, significant)
Measurable – (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable – (agreed, attainable).
Relevant – (reasonable, realistic, results-based)
Time bound – (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, time-sensitive).
This guide was developed by Peter Drucker in his “Management by Objectives” concept and the term was first used in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. Since then, it’s been used to help countless people set and achieve their goals.
Specific - Detail on paper or another format (computer, etc.) specifically what you are wanting to achieve. Your goal should be clear and specific and written down – this keeps you motivated and focused. Try answering the following questions when writing down your goals:
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important to you?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
While some of your goals might not have obvious answers for all of the above questions, taking this time to look at your goals from all directions and asking as many questions as possible will only make the goal more tangible and relatable; thus, helping you achieve your goals.
Measurable – how will you demonstrate and evaluate how your goal has been met? It’s important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay on track, check off each step, and eventually reach your goals. A measurable goal should ask such questions as:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will you know when it is accomplished?
Achievable – set goals within your range of achieving and your abilities. Your goal needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. This means that your goals should stretch your abilities yet remain possible and achievable. An achievable goal will typically answer the following questions:
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints (i.e. financial, demographic)
Relevant – do your goals align with your objectives? This step involves making sure that your goals matter to you, and that each goal aligns with other relevant goals. When your goals are relevant, you are much more motivated to complete deadlines, and do the tasks to complete your goals.
Time bound – set 1 or more target dates to help guide you to success. Every goal needs a target date, this gives you a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. A time bound goal will usually answer these questions:
- What can I do 6 months from now?
- What can I do today?
Goal setting takes time. Not only that – it takes some work! It can be challenging to take this time, find the time, and stick with the process – yet when you do, your success in achieving your goals will be magnified and that will be incentive to do it again and again!
Movement and exercise also helps to stimulate our brains and helps us focus more in general. If you are feeling stuck, unmotivated and/or just not wanting to plan or focus on goal-setting – take a walk, exercise, meditate, go to the gym or take a virtual class or session. This will help stimulate your endorphins and set the tone for a positive, active, and productive goal setting experience! Go ahead – write down a goal and GO FOR IT!
Rejuv at Work offers several options for Mind-Body classes and/or workshops such as: Meditation, Stretch at Your Desk, Deskercise, Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. These are all ways to help reduce and manage stress and anxiety; as well as promote a healthier and happier outlook and work environment.