HOW TO SET GOALS AND KEEP THEM
Do you ever set goals for yourself and then wonder why you never achieve them? Or do you flounder through life, buffeted by outside forces and not knowing where you’d like to be in 5, 10, 20 years’ time? Simplify the process and make it easier to follow through and hold yourself accountable for what happens in your life and the direction it takes. Check out my post on how to set goals and keep them.
GOAL-SETTING BENEFITS EVERYONE
Most successful people have goals. They might be short, medium or long-term goals and they might change over time, but these people will probably have a set of clearly defined goals, which they review regularly and hold themselves accountable to if they don’t achieve.
You don’t need to be one of these highly successful people in order to benefit from setting goals. You don’t need to be in the public eye, run a multi-million pound business or have a high-powered career.
What if I’m just a Mum I can hear you say? What’s the point in me reading this? Read on and I’ll explain why.
5 IMPORTANT REASONS TO SET GOALS
#1 Goals are for everyone
Well, firstly and obviously, if you’re reading this and you are a Mum, there’s no such thing as being ‘just a Mum’. Mums have the hardest, craziest job in the world with the worst rates of pay and leave entitlement!
But, if you want the best for you and your family; to create opportunities, learn new things, try out different experiences, lead by example and are not willing to settle for ‘just making do’ but instead want to embrace and take on the challenges of life with open hearts, minds and arms… then you need to set yourself some goals.
#2 Don’t waste time and let it pass you by unnoticed
It’s so easy for time to slip by, when we’re caught up in the daily, often mundane, routine of life. One day drifts into the next, and before you know it, your kids are grown up and you’ve gotten older.
Don’t put yourself in the position where you wish you’d done something differently. Don’t think about the ‘what if?’. Don’t regret what you’ve done, but even more importantly, don’t regret what you haven’t.
#3 Be in control of your own destiny
If you don’t set goals then you might well still achieve a lot, but how can you be sure that what you’ll achieve is actually what you wanted to achieve? If you had a choice, would you have chosen a different path in life, or set of opportunities, but did you just take what was on offer at the time?
Setting goals means you can determine what YOU want out of life and take the necessary steps to get there. You can decide what you want to make happen, when and how.
#4 You can hold yourself accountable
If you don’t set goals, then you’ve no tangible record of what you’ve got planned for your life and your family. It won’t matter if you don’t get to where you wanted to go, or do what you wanted to do, because you never properly determined what your goals were going to be in the first place. You probably didn’t write them down anywhere and you might not have told anyone else that you’ve set them. So, who would know if you didn’t achieve them?
There’s no-one and nothing to hold you accountable, so you’re less likely to have the encouragement and motivation to achieve them.
#5 Focus your mind on what’s important and let go of the rest
When you set goals you’re forcing yourself to think about your life and what’s most important to you. You determine your priorities and everything else falls away. If you haven’t taken the time to actually work out what you want from life, then setting goals will force you to do this. It’s important to set a goal for everything in life so you can concentrate on the ones that mean the most to you.
You’re forced to think about your life in its different stages. You look at the whole picture, from what you do on a daily basis to the legacy that you leave behind at the end.
By now you should be able to see that goal-setting is for everyone, regardless of who you are and what you do.
Let’s now look at how you can start to set yourself some goals.
HOW TO SET GOALS
- Choose a quiet 20 minutes to sit down and reflect on what you want from life.
- Grab a notebook and pen and sketch out three sections – short term goals, medium term goals and long-term goals.
- Brainstorm where you want to be at each of these stages – what you want your life to look like and what you’d like to have achieved.
- Now look at each section in turn – think about your priorities for each section.
- Write down your top five goals for each stage.
- Underneath each of these goals, list three action points per goal for how you’re going to achieve these.
HOW SHOULD YOU WRITE YOUR GOALS?
- Goals are things to set for yourself. You should start them with ‘I’ wherever possible. For example, I will …, I want …, I shall …
- Goals are statements that require you to take action. Try to use words that invoke positive action, for example, I am going to … or I will …, rather than ‘I hope … or I will try to …’
- Goals shouldn’t be based on other people or circumstances as you are only in control of your own decisions and choices, not other people’s. For example, ‘I will lose weight when my family eats healthier’. Change this to ‘I will lose weight by choosing healthy meal options for myself.’
PUT YOUR GOAL-SETTING INTO PRACTICE
By now you’ve identified your priorities and set yourself goals. Put what you’ve written into practice, today, to get the ball-rolling by following some of the action points on your list.
You’ll need to go back to your notes every now and then to re-assess your goals and see whether they are still important to you. There’s nothing wrong in changing your goals if they no longer feel important or appropriate to you. We all change and evolve, and it would be wrong to think that what we decided a while ago is still going to suit us in, say, five years’ time. The trick is to re-evaluate your goals and priorities on a regular basis to test whether they’re still important and of value to you.
If you’re able to, tell someone else about your goal-setting. Accountability is key and although having them written down is a great first step, nothing will keep you motivated like telling someone else your plans and for them to regularly ask and check in with you on how they’re going!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get stuck or lose focus and don’t be put off if your goals seem way too ambitious! Don’t be tempted to change them if it’s something you really want. Just break it down in to the different stages and action points and have a realistic timescale by which you want to achieve them. Remember that goals can always be changed!
WHAT IF YOU DON’T MEET YOUR GOALS?
If you don’t meet your goals then you’re not a failure!
Maybe the goals weren’t realistic in the first place or you set yourself an unachievable time scale. Rather than being upset or angry with yourself, ask yourself why you didn’t achieve them.
- Are there any action points that you didn’t include in the first place, or that you didn’t do?
- Do you really want to hit this goal deep down in your heart.
- Did you put it off or get side-tracked because it wasn’t actually that important to you in the end?
- Did it just come down to the fact that you didn’t re-visit your goals often enough?
There’s always a reason why we don’t achieve what we set out to. Sometimes it’s because of external factors and other times it comes from barriers we put up ourselves. Take time to work out what’s relevant in your case.
Goals are things that you work towards and although it’s great when you achieve them, a lot of our personal growth and learning comes from the journey towards them, as much as achieving the goal itself.
Making a note of your goals with specific actionable steps at each point will help keep you focused and accountable. Simplifying your goal-setting in this way will make it much easier to set goals in the first place and even more likely you’ll achieve them.
YOUR NEXT STEP…
Your Intentional Life is a completely free 7-day email course that will make you look at your life differently. I’ll show you how to create a life that supports YOU so you can focus on your purpose, priorities and the things that are most important to you without clutter and distraction. Packed with practical steps, actionable challenges and lots of encouragement!