Goals are tricky little suckers aren’t they?
Somewhere between the household chores and driving the kids around and work and visiting family and friends; somewhere in there, you have hopes and dreams but they always seem a little out of reach. You can’t quite focus on them and so instead they sit in your peripheral vision, disappearing like cloud castles in the air.
I was having dinner at a friend’s house a while ago and it was the point in the evening when everyone has had too much wine and too much dessert. You know what I’m talking about. That time when a relaxed, winey stillness comes over the conversation and you finally get past the small talk and into the good stuff.
‘I always wanted to travel’ my friend said (to no-one in particular.) This got my attention as I have lived in 6 different countries since the age of twenty one.
‘Why haven’t you?’ I asked.
And then it came. The golden reply I could see from a mile away:
‘I don’t know, I’ve just been busy, I just never seemed to have the time’
And there we have it. The ultimate excuse. I.never.have.time.
THE LIE WE TELL OURSELVES
It’s amazing isn’t it the way we fool ourselves? It isn’t that you never had time to achieve your goals, it’s that you never took the time to focus on them and to put an effective plan in place to actually achieve them.
BUT WAIT THAT’S NOT ME …
Maybe this is not you. Maybe you are ready to press the big green ‘GO’ button on your goal. Maybe you have set time aside and you know just what it is you want to do but you’re just not sure how to go about it and you are stuck on the starting line. Or maybe you have made some progress but keep hitting a constant road block and are getting frustrated.
THE TRUTH ABOUT GOAL SETTING
Setting and maintaining a goal is a lot like baking a Christmas cake. To bake an amazing Christmas cake you first need to choose a the right recipe. Next, you need to make sure that you have all the right ingredients. You need to watch over your cake as it matures, feeding it tenderly and generously. Lastly, it needs to be given the time it needs to bake properly. If you don’t follow these simple but critical steps, you will end up with something that might look like a Christmas cake but is actually completely lacking in taste, richness and is a total disappointment. The experience might even be so bad that it discourages you from baking ever again because you feel like a failure.
The truth about goal setting is that once you know the correct actionable steps it really isn’t that hard after all, and that’s where I come in.
Confucius famously said ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. Well, here is my 5 step plan to setting goals and sticking to them. What’s more, I even have a great freebie to help you set and review your own goals at the end of this post.
Excited? Sure you are, let’s get started.
HOW TO SET GOALS AND STICK TO THEM
I love optimistic people, I surround myself with them and I count myself in their number but when it comes to goal setting it’s important to be a realist. You may have the desire to grow wings and fly out of the bedroom window like a cherub but guess what? It ain’t gonna happen. It doesn’t matter whether your goal is in the area of health, personal relationships, home or work, it must be realistic and achievable.
Think about your goal now and be honest with yourself. Is it something you can actually achieve? If the answer is no then you need to have a rethink.
Whatever your goal is related to it must be specific. The main reason why people find difficulty with their goal setting is that they set themselves a task that is too vague. Vague goals are easily swept under the carpet and forgotten because they don’t have any real accountability. Look at these two examples:
Example 1: ‘I want to lose weight’
Example 2: ‘I will lose 25 pounds’