Hopefully your journey is off to an amazing start and you've laid out your goals for the next 90 days to a year, and have broken them down into smaller goals that you have a high level of confidence you can achieve. If perchance you haven't laid out your goals, fear not, it's never too late to get started. If you have started, well it never hurts to have a recap.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” -Tony Robbins
In our best year yet post we laid out a game plan for goal setting, separating goals into outcome goals, which are broader and not always under our direct control, and behavioral goals, which are under our direct control and will be the steps you take to achieve your outcome goal. Identifying behavioral goals simply requires a little Q&A session with yourself where you identify the tasks required to obtain a result. By the end of this exercise, you should walk away with the steps needed to achieve your outcome goal.
Once you have both your outcome goals and behavioral goals defined, examine them a bit closer. How specific are they? Can you answer what, where, when and why for the goal? Saying that you will exercise 3 times a week is somewhat specific, but can you be even more specific? For example, specify the days of the week and time that you'll exercise. Maybe even the type and length of the exercise, so you know when you hit the mark. The more specific you can be with your goals the more clarity, direction and focus you will have. Having goals which are vague leaves room for misinterpretation and difficulty measuring success.
Next up, make sure that your goals are measurable. This one should be pretty obvious why it's important. After all, if your goals aren't measurable, how will you know how you're progressing? Being able to measure progress will also help you determine if any tweaking or adjustments are needed.
Consider whether the goals you have set forth are realistic. That is, are they achievable. Many times we set goals based on a best-case scenario where all things go according to plan. We don't account for the many unexpected events that occur in our lives. Furthermore, if you're proposing activity that is new to you, make sure you factor in time for you to get acclimated, pace yourself.
Setting a timeline helps keep you on track and ensures the behaviors you set forth are appropriate for the goal. Losing 5% body fat whenever would require a drastically different set of steps than if you were to set a timeline of 3 months. Goals that are left open-ended tend to get put off until it is convenient. Having a deadline will help keep you motivated and on track. See why it's important? Good.
Lastly, be sure to write your goals down and refer to them often, even daily. This will help you stay focused, committed and will serve as a reminder of what you want to achieve.
While the outcome goal is important, focus your daily efforts on your behavior goals. These are the steps that will achieve your outcome goals. Stay consistent with these steps and you will be on your way to success!