How to Set Attainable Goals
Christmas has come and gone, we counted down to 12:00am on December 31st, the holidays have come to an end and we are now starting to go back to work and getting ready for the year ahead. We’ve all heard about New Year’s resolutions, and some of us have given up on making them because we have set unattainable ones in the past. But I think it is important to set a list of clear, attainable goals to guide us on a journey of success for the year ahead.
So, how do we best achieve this without overwhelming ourselves, or setting ourselves up for failure which will ultimately result in feelings of guilt or self-doubt?
What I believe is so hard about long-term goals is the fact that there are no immediate results, which often leaves us feeling disheartened and beaten. You’ve been eating healthy for weeks, going to the gym 3 times a week… now 2 months on and you can see little to no results. So, you give up and you’re back to your old ways. This is why I came up with a hack to achieving your goals: by listing these goals and pairing them with rewards!
How to Pair Rewards to Your Goals
The idea is simple – set a realistic, measurable goal (with a timeline if you wish) and pair that goal with a positive consequence once you have attained it. For example, if your goal is to cut back on consuming meat, you could set a goal whereby you don’t eat meat for 3 days a week for 1 whole month. You could then pair that goal with a reward of $50 into a new clothes fund. So, by not eating meat, you are rewarding yourself with the privilege of putting money towards a fund for you to buy new clothes… and what better way to celebrate!
Let’s Put it in Writing!
Something I have noticed on my journey of goal setting is that it is important to put everything in writing! Now I’m not saying that you have to get a legal document drawn up whereby witnesses sign that they sited you and you are going to be socially isolated if you don’t abide by the rules. But having your goals in writing gives you something to refer to for guidance and continued motivation. So, it could be something like this:
I (name) am on a journey to improve myself as an individual every day. I commit to attaining these goals, written on (date), and promise to reward myself when such goals have been accomplished. I will therefore undertake these goals without feelings of restraint or guilt. I hope to have these goals fulfilled by (date).
Note: I find it useful to also write your emotions and feelings along the way, by keeping a diary of how you are going with achieving your goals and how you feel once you have completed them. And don’t forget, it is important to celebrate your achievements along the way.
Personal vs Professional Goals
I would like to touch on the importance of setting both personal and professional goals by highlighting that they need to be treated differently, but taken as seriously or as important as one another. Remember YOU come first, and to succeed professionally, you must first succeed on a personal level… but note that it is a continuous process of growth. This is why I tend to steer away from setting New Year’s Resolutions because they focus too highly on setting annual, or short-term goals. Goals are about continual growth, both personally and professionally. It’s what makes the world go around, you never truly know where life will take you. We are never standing still, we are constantly learning and as a result we are continuously growing. Ultimately, writing a list of goals to achieve both in your personal and professional lives is an acknowledgment that we ultimately want to better ourselves as human beings.
Setting the Goals
Once you have put it in writing, now’s time to set your goals! Use this time to reflect on your life, your current position at work, your family life etc., and think long and hard about how you would like to improve or grow in these areas. Make dot points, create a mind map, scribble some points… ultimately, I want to get you thinking about areas that YOU can grow as an individual. Now, decide whether you would like to write two separate lists, separating your personal and professional life, or whether you’d like to tie these in together. I personally like to separate these. It is important that you are very clear in determining what the goal is, what it looks like, what it feels like, so that it is clear once you have achieved it.
Setting the Rewards
Now this can be the tricky part. Knowing what rewards to tie in with goals can be hard, so you need to think about what rewards will entice you to keep motivated in achieving them. It’s also important to steer away from rewards that go against your goal in the first place. For example, a fitness goal is not paired well with an unhealthy reward, but rather a monetary reward to buy new fitness or gym-wear would be a better choice. Something that is a reward, yet still keeps you feeling good about yourself and keeps you motivated.
Overall, remember when you are on your own personal journey to success it is important to note that YOU come first, and reading this blog already proves that you are on your way to setting yourself up to be the best possible version of yourself. Life is a continuous journey of growth, success, pitfalls and challenges… but that’s what makes it exciting. As the saying goes, “as one door closes another one opens”, so be open minded, take the good with the bad and be realistic when setting goals.
I hope that helps and I look forward to following your success in 2018 and beyond.