A goal itself is useless without the action. Obvious? What do you keep saying you’d like to be different that you’ve yet to commit the effort? Or what did you start this year pledging that you’ve already abandoned?
Any topic, as you know, can typically be expanded. Therefore, though many of you have enjoyed and experienced tremendous success working with Goal Setting for the Recovering Excuse Maker e-book, thought supplemental information would be valuable to you. This content is intended to serve as a compliment to all the tools in my latest e-book.
Goals can be long term or short term and are very different than “to do” lists. It’s been said meaningful goals both excite and scare us. There must be an element of excitement to entice us forward. In other words, something YOU really desire or want for yourself. Be careful about incorporating “shoulds” on your list. “Shoulds” are things you know would be beneficial for you, or someone else desires of you, yet you are currently unwilling (for whatever reason) to take steps in that direction. If either of the previous two reasons were effective, you would have achieved the associated outcomes by now.
The “scare” factor relates to stretching our comfort zones. Logically we know this is essential for growth. In spite of what we know, many of us expend more energy and effort attempting to avoid anything that would have that very affect. This behavior, though often unseen or denied in ourselves, is easily and clearly identified in others. Desiring improvement; on any level, in any capacity or realm in life or business; while avoiding experiencing any discomfort is a contradiction and will prevent you from achieving what you claim to want.
Briefly, a “to do” list on the other hand, is simply a list of tasks. The tasks ideally align with your goals. Unless you are clear on your goals it is difficult to correlate the alignment of your tasks. In theory, even the mundane daily responsibilities relate to the essence of one or more of your goals.
Many of you are probably familiar with the SMART acronym. Though like me, you may have heard more than one version. The S, M and T have been consistent in my experience with variations regarding the A and R.
S is for specific. For example, “I want to spend more time with my significant other” is vague. “I intend to have a minimum of one date a month with my significant other” is specific.
M is measurable. There must be some form of quantitation in order to identify progress, otherwise we are guessing. Think of a time you thought you were dedicating a certain amount of time, money or energy to something only to learn the reality to be quite different. In some areas you could learn you have invested more than you realized and in other areas you may find what you allotted to be far less than you believed. None of this is known unless you’ve paused to assess. What aspects of your life and business have you measured and where are you guessing? For example, when a person who expresses limitations of their finances, says they hardly eat out and then you see them daily come into the office with a Starbucks (or whoever) styrofoam cup in hand. True, this is drinking as opposed to eating; however, it is an added and unnecessary expense when on a restricted budget. What are you overlooking; intentionally or unintentionally; that is obvious to others? See if you can resist the temptation to point out to others what they are missing or ignoring!
What words have you heard for the A? How about, achievable, attainable or actionable? Achievable and attainable basically mean the same thing. You may have a sense of knowing if doable for you or you may be functioning from the premise that someone has achieved or attained the goal and therefore possible for you. One word of caution here, many of us tend to underestimate what is possible for ourselves, especially when embarking on totally new territory. Actionable, can serve as a reminder that continuous, regular action is required. Believe all three options to be effective. Choose one, be clear what it means for you and get going.
Words you may have heard for R; realistic, relevant, and results oriented. Realistic is often best determined in conjunction with a supportive person who is familiar and focused on the process of achieving goals or with a coach. Best-selling author Larry Winget has said, “Never ask a person who is broke for financial advice.” What about workshops on communication where one participant who is either passive or aggressive agrees with another person of the same challenge to support each other in becoming assertive? Really? As apparent as either of these examples might seem, observe your own words and behavior and see what you discover about yourself.
Relevant is really up to the individual. If you assess your goals against the criteria of excite and scare you, relevancy will probably be taken into account. Results oriented can aid in keeping the focus on the outcomes which is a key purpose of setting and achieving goals. Again, as in A, have known all three terms to be effective, therefore you can follow what was outlined in that section above.
Lastly, the T represents the element of time. Designating a deadline creates a sense of urgency similar to how productive one can be just before vacation. The intent here is to address what is important to you before ending up in a situation of looking back regretfully.
Let’s face it; we all have dreams and desires. If you know what you need to do, how well has that worked for you so far to create the change you say you’d love to have? If you’re unaware of what you need to do, or if you’ve been doing what you think necessary without experiencing what you seek, it’s probably time to go beyond your current beliefs and actions.
The only way to convert aspirations into reality, instead of stockpiling wishes, is to value ourselves enough to take responsibility to get out of our own way and get rid of excuses. This is a process as we strive to persist in beneficial ways to create the sought after results. How do YOU get in your own way? Whether the answer to the last question is known or unknown, what is your next step?