Five Reasons You’re Not Achieving your Goals:
- You’re not setting any
- You’re not analyzing the source of the difficulty
- You’re not making them SMART
- You’re not writing them down
- You’re not developing an action plan
**Trigger Warning – discussion around losing weight**
If goal setting is a detour from the path of least resistance, then not setting goals is a vacation cruise to “no-where-ville”, but at least it won’t be hard. Studies show that 84% of people don’t set goals. Of the additional 16% only 13% have written goals and only 3% have written goals with a plan. A 1979 study by the Harvard School of business, shows that if you have a written goal you are 10 times more successful than those without written goals and if you are part of the 3% that has written goals and a plan, you are 10 times more successful than all the rest. (Success was defined as 10 years later you were making more money than the others.)
When setting a goal first one needs to understand the source of the difficulty. As we talked about last week, she/they will also need to assess their own motivation and skills to determine if it’s a realistic goal and if they’re ready to learn new skills to help them achieve their goal. I’ve said multiple times that I’m going to lose weight, but you know what I haven’t done? Yeah, lose weight. You know why? Because I haven’t even set a goal around it. I haven’t analyzed the problem. I haven’t set a SMART goal. I haven’t written it down, and I haven’t developed an action plan.
So, let’s talk through the steps for setting goals.
- Step 1. Take a look at your life and determine, “Am I where I want to be?” “If I could change any three things about my life, what would they be?” “If I could wave a magic wand and fix any of my problems, which problems would I fix?”
- Analyze the problem – really take a look at it, don’t just say, “I’m overweight or I hate my job or My husband never listens.” State the problem and then ask yourself why. And don’t just start with one why, keep going until you can find the deep root of what is going on. For me, it’s my weight (sorry I keep bringing this up). Here’s my seven Why’s process:
Problem: I’m overweight.
Why: When I have the choice, I don’t eat nutritious foods.
Why: Because nutritious foods aren’t easily accessible to me.
Why: Because I lack the motivation to make them, even though I crave them
Why: Because I don’t feel like I have the time or the ingredients
Why: Because I have made other things the priority in my life and convenience foods are easier
Why: Because I don’t have a strategy for eating healthy
Why: Because I haven’t made time to sit down, learn how to set a good strategy, and take action to remedy this problem.
Now that I’ve taken that journey, I can see that it’s not quite so simple as I’m a bum because I can’t make healthy eating choices, and I don’t have the right foods for me. The deeper root cause identifies that I need to learn a strategy that I can follow, map it, and begin to follow it. Now I have a goal.
- When creating a goal, make it SMART. You know why so many people fail to achieve their new year’s resolutions? Because they say, “I will lose weight,” instead of, “I will lose twenty pounds through exercising three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes and planning and eating nutritious meals and snacks six days per week by May 31, 2022.” Do you see the difference? The second one is SMART. Here’s the acronym:
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Attainable
- R – Realistic
- T – Time bound
So why is the second goal SMART. Let’s look at it:
Specific – I name what I want to do, and how I will do it specifically. What do I want to do? Lose weight. How am I going to do it? By exercising three times a week and eating nutritious meals and snacks six days a week (day seven can be a cheat day).
Measurable – A goal is hard to measure when no numbers are involved. Let’s look at all the ways the second goal is measurable. First, it says I will lose 20 pounds. So I can weigh myself and measure to see my progress on a daily/weekly basis (choice is mine). Also, I can track if I do 3 x 30 minute workouts per week (there are super easy and free habit trackers all over the internet). And finally, I will eat nutritiously six days a week. Again, a great habit tracker is useful to carry out this action.
Attainable – This is where either some subject matter expertise comes into play or a little need to research. Is this goal attainable? In 5 months (if I set this on January 1st) could I lose 20 pounds. The answer is yes. If I attempt to lose one pound a week and give myself 5 months which would equal out to slightly less than one pound a week, then it is attainable. If I had said, “I will lose 100 pounds in three months,” that is not attainable. But again, if you did the simple math of 1 pound per week then you know it would take you approximately 100 weeks to attain your goal.
Realistic – Realism is the other side of the coin to attainability. Is it realistic to lose 1 pound a week? Yes. How do I know because I checked with subject matter experts and researched it, and everywhere I went I found that one pound a week is realistic. Is two pounds a week realistic. Yep, still true. Three pounds…well, depends on how much more I want to work out and how much less I want to eat. So that’s no longer realistic to me.
Time bound – the key to any good goal is a due date. This goal is time bound as I’ve set it specifically for May 31, 2022. Yep, you need to know when your time will be done for a couple of reasons. First, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to do anything forever. We are rebellious by nature and don’t want to be stuck in something forever. Second, it gives you a chance to evaluate your progress and determine if your goal needs to be tweaked. If I reach my goal, my new goal would be about keeping the weight off. If I don’t reach my new goal, it’s a chance to evaluate and see what worked and what needs to be changed in order to be successful.
- Another key step to achieving your goal is to write it down and put it in a place where you can see it everyday. Examples include your bathroom mirror, your work computer, on the home screen of your phone. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy Vision Boarding. It’s a creative and expressive way to communicate your goals, it’s beautiful and can be put in a place where you would love to see it every day, and makes you continue to think about it as well as check goals off the list.
- Step 5 – is planning, but I really want to dive into action planning so we’ll take a look at that in two weeks.
Want to achieve your goals quickly and easily with a little, friendly accountability? Set up some time to chat with me, and let’s see if working together can help you accomplish what you want now.