There is a very common problem I see in many people I talk to. Doesn’t matter if we are talking about money, fitness, weight loss, relationships – whatever it is, there is this common underlying issue that most people fall into which prevents them from any sort of progress. And that issue is not knowing what they want. Sure – most people have an idea of what they want, or some general concept of what they want – but not many people have a hard, measurable, tangible goal of what they want.
Here is a perfect example: Weight loss. I hear SO MANY people that want to lose weight, but that is all they tell me.
“I want to lose weight”.
Great! Go drop your calories for 1 day and do an insane amount of cardio for 1 day and you will drop a pound. That is weight loss isn’t it? OH!! You want more? Why didn’t you say so…
It’s like jumping into a car with a friend and they ask you where you want to go and you say “that way” and point in a general direction. Sure – that maybe the right direction, but your friend has no idea where you are going! Is it just down the road or across the country? Do you turn at all? What happens if something blocks the road, how are we suppose to get around it?
Knowing what you want is the same thing. You can’t simply say “I want this general idea in this broad spectrum sort of way” and think that you will achieve. That is just madness. If you want to start accomplishing anything and everything in your life, you first have to know what it is that you want
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
So I want you to do a little exercise for me. I want you to think of something that you have been working towards, that doesn’t have a hard goal attached to it. Maybe you have been trying to lose weight? Maybe you have been trying to exercise more, or eat better? Maybe your goal is financial and you have been working on making or saving more money? Maybe you haven’t been working toward a general goal and you need to start! Either way – think of something you want to accomplish.
We are going to set a number and deadline to that using the SMART goal setting principles. SMART goal setting principles have been around for awhile. It is an acronym for a way to set a goal.
S – Specific. We have been discussing this the whole time. Your goal can’t just be this general number that you wander to. You need to have a specific goal, a specific number that you want to reach. Don’t be afraid when doing this to be VERY specific. You cannot get too specific.
M – Measurable. This is a big one for me. We need to have a way to measure our goal. We need to be able to track progress and put some metrics behind what we are doing. Most of the items you will choose can be measured – weight loss, finances, fitness, etc. But some – earn a promotion at work, be more loving to a family member – may take a little more thinking, but you CAN assign metrics.
A – Attainable. Let’s face it, we all want a bazillion dollars and lose a ton of weight. But these may not be attainable where we are at in our life. We need to make sure that the goal is something we can hit, but also pushes us.
R – Relevant. Some use REALISTIC in this part, but for me, that is covered in attainable. You have to create realistic, attainable goals. So I use the R as relevant, meaning make sure that this is relevant and meaningful to you. Don’t do goals based on someone else. If you are happy with your money situation, don’t ask for more money because other people are. Make sure this is relevant to what you are doing.
T – Timely. Put a deadline on it and stick to it. Don’t make it so extreme you can’t do it, but don’t make it so far in the future you will never hit it or forget about it.
So using this information, think of a goal, using the SMART system to figure out your hard number, then go do that. You will find that if you have a hard number and a hard deadline, you are more likely to follow the plan and execute your goal. When us humans have a something that we can view, can grab, can feel and can relate to, we are more driven to achieve that.
CAN’T STOP – WON’T STOP
There is one other thing I want to discuss that follows this same principle that I see people do far to often: Stopping once your goal is hit. Most people set goals OK and once they hit it, they are all excited and celebrate and totally stop what they are doing. Which is OK – to a certain point. If you hit your goal, you should take the time to celebrate, because it is a big deal. But you also need to re-evaluate your goal, reset your goal, reuse the SMART principle and keep moving toward your goal.
Even if you find yourself NOT hitting your goal, re-evaluate your process. None of us our perfect. We may get our goal setting wrong. This isn’t the end of the world. Simply readjust, and keep moving forward. I can guarantee you – if you follow this principle, and keep adjusting your goals, you will always get what you want, every single time.
Don’t believe me? Give it a shot. Create a goal, create a plan, always adjust your plan as needed, never give up. Goal hit. Every time.
To Your Success,