If you are someone that struggles setting goals or achieving them, here are some ideas that I have applied with great results.
Goal setting is an integral part of many peoples lives. We have to do it for work and our personal lives. Whereas work objectives are a particular structure, the personal ones are not.
In my early twenties, after leaving university, I had a basic set of goals of getting a job and getting paid. But I realised that this was not enough if I wanted to grow and improve. I therefore started reading books such as Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill to inspire me to set bigger goals.
One quote that inspires me is:
"Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass." - Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
When you have a set of achievable goals and focus on them, you become the driving force of your change.
Set Goal Areas
When I initially started setting personal goals, it was a list that I worked through. Complete a 10km run, save £3,000 or get promoted.
I ended up selecting the goals I prefer to do instead of the goals I should do.
Ultimately I chose career goals over others and therefore, at the end of the year, I had a great career but other areas I failed to improve on.
So after reviewing other peoples approaches and goals lists, I split my goals into the following areas:
Health covers all the goals needed to be healthy. This area could include losing weight or beating my personal best at running 10km. By having objectives related to health, I was trying to ensure I would be fit and sick free in the future.
Personal development covers the goals needed to improve me. This area might include setting up a new mental challenge or doing a new course.
The purpose of personal development goals is to improve my mind. I regularly felt challenges, and completing training courses would help me become better informed and smarter.
Personal finance focused on trying to be wealthier. These would include career goals such as getting promoted or saving goals to buy a house. I needed this area to ensure I was getting more prosperous. I felt it was important to aim to be financially independent, so I have a better future and resources to overcome issues that I might face someday.
Family and relationships covered goals such as spending time with my family and looking after them. It also included other relationship types, such as romantic ones as well as friendships. I felt having goals that supported the needs of my social network and helped it grow was essential to my mental well being.
Leisure covered goals relating to travelling and going out. Having goals to ensure downtime was essential to keep my mind relaxed and stress free.
Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
Once you have set your areas, you need to be able to measure against them. It's important to measure because what you can measure you can manage. KPIs also tell you where you now so you can see if you are improving.
For example, if your area is health, it might be to use mass as the KPI. You can measure your current weight and set a weight loss target.
I also enjoy tracking these KPIs throughout a period on a chart as it shows progress over time. I also enjoy forecastingmy improvement, which gives me a psychological boost to keep going. Forecasting also allows me to make changesearly on to make sure I am meeting my targets.
Set Action Goals
I find when setting goals, it has to be in the form of action that I need to do to order to impact that KPI.
In the weight loss example, I would define my goal as lose 10kg but also the following:
- aim to complete five runs of 10km
- goal to cut down calories consumed by 10%
- increase daily steps by 10%
Another important aspect is to create goals that have an impact on many different areas.
If your goal is to lose weight by cutting back on the calories consumed, it might mean you become healthier. But it will also impact your finance area because you will save money by not eating out.
Another example might be increasing the number of holidays travelling abroad with family which will impact both family and leisure areas.
Set Monthly Goals
One of the principles of a SMART goal setting is creating a time-bound goal. I have found creating goals that are too long, don't work for me. The optimum length of a goal for me is monthly.
Having goals that are longer than a month means I might get bored of achieving it, or my priorities change. But having goals that are monthly means I remain focused.
I often review my goals regularly as it encourages me to be more focused and helps me prioritise my day or week around the goals.
I store my goals on Notion and review it on the journey to work at the start of the day.
Updating and reviewing my KPI's weekly helps to track my progress and allows me to take action sooner rather than later.
Creating goals and reviewing them is tricky. Most of what I learnt that works for me had come from trial and error.
Viewing goals in different areas with KPIs helps me visualise where I need to go.
Defining my goals with action words and limiting them to monthly helps me adapt when I don't think I will achieve the improvements in the areas that I want.
Regularly reviewing goals allows me to prioritise my day and help makes decisions that aligned with goals.
There is a growing discussion that people should not have goals as it makes them less happy when they don't achieve those goals.
For me, goal setting works and even when I don't achieve goals, I know I have learnt something from trying to achieve those goals.