How many times have you sat back at the end of the year and really examined what you’ve accomplished personally and professionally? Did you set goals at the beginning of the year which helped hold you accountable?
Sadly, numerous studies have shown that less than 3 percent of people actually take the time to set goals, and about 1 percent of those people write them down. With data like this, it’s no wonder that most humans are in a never-ending cycle of sadness, discontent, and an overall general sense of wanting more.
I believe goal setting is one of the most powerful exercises that we have at our disposal. When goals are set properly and have true meaning, it gives us a purpose and something to strive for. I always say motivation will wane even for the most dedicated of people, it’s the goals that we set for ourselves that drive us even when motivation and desire fails.
It is my professional opinion that taking the final month of the year to take stock of what you’ve accomplished as well as what you’d like to accomplish in the year to come will have a massive positive impact on your life. So let’s focus on setting goals for 2023. How exactly do you set goals and what should you focus on?
Have you ever heard of the SMART acronym? It stands for specific measurable attainable realistic and time-based. It’s a system that allows you to take general desires and wants and hone them to specific tangible targets that you can reach and accomplish. So let’s dive in.
S – pecific
M – easurable
A – ttainable
R – ealistic
T – ime based
The first part of the acronym is specific. Your goals must be clear and concisely defined in order to progress. For example, if someone comes to me and says “I want to lose weight and feel better” that goal is entirely too general. I’d dig deeper by asking questions to get some specifics. A better way to phrase the goal might be something like, “I want to lose 12-15 pounds and drop 3% percent body fat over the course of the next 6 months.” Now we have a specific target to work towards.
Your goals must also be measurable. In the above example, it is clearly stated that the goal is to lose 12-15lbs plus drop 3 percent body fat. There is no grey area here. Your results will clearly tell you whether or not you’ve achieved what you set out to do.
Next in the acronym is attainable. Sometimes as humans we are overly optimistic and set goals way out of the realm of possibility. I’ve had people tell me they want to lose 30 pounds in 2 months. Goals must be attainable meaning they can be challenging but not impossible. With our above example, we know that healthy weight loss for most humans is .5-2.0 pounds per week. It is completely attainable to hit the above target in 6 months.
Closely tied into attainable would be realistic. We again want to make sure that we are setting ourselves up for success. If I have someone come in who is unable to do a standard push-up, and they set a goal of achieving a ring muscle up in 3 months, just based on strength requirements and skill, I’d be able to tell that person that the goal is unrealistic. It’s very important to set targets that we can reach.
Last up is the time based component. Having a deadline to accomplish certain tasks will push people to stay on track.
As you can see, setting SMART goals are challenging but in the end very rewarding. One of the reasons why I ask so many questions when meeting with people is so that I know EXACTLY what they want, when they want it to happen by, and how badly they want it. We also know how powerful heartfelt goals can be when working through periods of low motivation. Motivation drops over time and it’s those people with clearly set goals and front-sight focus that can accomplish their mission.
I challenge you to spend the final month of 2022 reflecting on all of the things you’ve accomplished and then creating a general list of things you’d like to achieve. Ask yourself if the goals are SMART before etching them in stone.
I absolutely love helping people set goals, and it would be my pleasure to help you set your 2023 goals. If you want to book a time to chat click here.