Setting goals is part of our daily routine, we do it all the time. Even during our "rest" days, we set goals on what we wish to accomplish that day, like sleeping "x" number of hours or finishing "x" number of episodes to find out what is happening on that show keeps leaving us with cliffhangers.
Don't worry, this blog will not be going over how to accomplish goals like the one's mentioned above, we just wanted to ensure that you already knew you had the basics down. In this blog, we will be talking about why we should partake in goal setting and what variables go into it. We will also be covering some tips and tricks that will help us accomplish our long-term and short-term goals.
Why Should We Plan Our Goals?
As mentioned above, we set goals all the time, and even if you don't consciously realize it, we are always planning and strategizing. For example, you might plan to sleep "x" number of hours so that you can watch "x" number of episodes, before a certain time of the day.
Since you already have the basics down, the rest should come somewhat natural to us. Before we get into the process of goal setting, let's look at why we should consciously and properly set personal goals and the benefits that come from planning our defined goals.
Goal setting comes with many benefits, especially when done properly. Some incentives that come with goal setting are that planning our goals will keep us motivated, give us insights, and provide us with direction on what needs to be done.
Here is a more detailed list of the benefits of goal setting:
Gives us direction by helping us figure out what steps need to be completed to accomplish our goal.
Gives us access to insights on what is working and what is not by letting us analyze our progress.
Helps us measure our progress based on milestones and timeframes, which keeps us motivated.
Give us a realistic perspective on how attainable a goal can be. A goal can seem not realistic to obtain until we plan out what steps are truly needed to achieve it.
First, before anything, we need to figure out what it is that we want to achieve. This foundational step can apply to any important aspect of our lives, and it can be any type of goal.
Before we pick a goal, let's remind ourselves that this goal does not have to be related to our academics, finances, or career. This step can be related to your mental health, physical health, overall health, a chronic condition, or relationships that we might want to work on.
Now that we have our goal figured out, let's go through our goal-setting process to make sure that we are correctly executing in such a way that we will succeed at achieving our end goal.
Grab something to write on and let's get started.
There are 2 major steps that we need to follow when practicing effective goal setting.
The first step is to make sure that we write a goal statement that follows the S.M.A.R.T method, as this will serve as the foundation for our road map. A S.M.A.R.T goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bounded (Mindtools).
An example of a goal statement that hits all of these variables would be "I want to improve my mental health by finding 3 new coping techniques and practicing them for 30 minutes, three times a week. I want to achieve my goal by the end of June, and I want to do this so that I can learn to better cope with my emotions"
The statement above is:
Specific: The goal is specific since we are specifying what we want to achieve (improve our mental health) and how we want to achieve it (finding new coping strategies).
Measurable: The goal has measurable components like the number of techniques and the consistency of practicing our new techniques.
Attainable: Our goal is realistic and attainable for us because we are able to set aside 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week.
Relevant: The goal is relevant to us because our mental health plays a huge role in our lives and it is something that we care about.
Time-bounded: The goal has a time-bound component to it (June).
Now that we have our goal statement ready, the next step is to make sure that our goal obtains the 5 principles of the Goal Setting theory. These 5 principles mix with the S.M.A.R.T method, so we already have some of the work done.
The principles are:
Commitment: By commitment, we really mean attachment. We should make sure that we are attached to our goal so that we can persist through our journey.
Clarity: This principle refers to how clear and measurable our goal is, something that we complied with in the S.M.A.R.T method.
Challenging: Is our goal challenging, yet realistic? According to the "attainable' step of our S.M.A.R.T method, it is.
Complexity: We need to make sure that our goal has the right level of complexity to it so that we don't become overwhelmed by it.
Feedback: We need feedback when working towards a goal. A good way to gain internal feedback is by journaling our experience. By journaling, we can track our data, discover trends, keep notes of what we find useful, reach milestones, and track our progress. Journaling our experience will keep us motivated and help keep us committed to our goal.
It’s important to note that not all goals have to be long-term, we can start small by setting up daily or weekly goals. We can even set up multiple daily goals to achieve our main end-of-day goal.
To use goal setting in our day to day, we can start by going through our goal setting action plan or plan for 5-15 minutes at the start of every morning to set your schedule for the day.
In the case of achieving multiple goals in one day, we want to organize them in order, whether that be from top to bottom or bottom to top, based on difficulty or time constraints.
By doing this, we will be strategizing the most efficient way to execute our goals for the day We can even go the extra mile by setting up reminders throughout the day. By checking our daily list and setting up reminders, we will get into an efficient daily routine, and as a result we will become unstoppable when executing our daily goals. (J Williams Staffing)
Tips to Remember
Sometimes we can get lost on our journey by forgetting to enjoy the moment. Setting goals and working towards them does not have to be a boring task. We have to make sure to enjoy the milestones and the final results, as this will keep us motivated and will provide us with a better attitude throughout our journey. (Thrive Global)
When we are goal setting, it is important to keep in mind that we might need to adjust our goals down the road if any obstacles present themselves. Remember, this is completely fine since goal setting is about growth and change.