Goal setting 101—learn how to set goals you can achieve

I recently signed up to receive tips from a rather famous person who said that the number one reason people aren’t successful is because they don’t complete their goals. This is a rather simplistic bit of advice and not all that helpful. After all, we don’t set goals with the intention of not doing them. We set goals because we do want to achieve them. So simply telling someone to complete the goals they set is rubbish advice, in my humble opinion.

A much more interesting question would be to take a look at all the things you’ve said you wanted to do and ask yourself, “Why haven’t I completed this goal?”  What has prevented you from reaching this goal?

Let’s take a look at a popular goal–to lose weight and get in shape. It all starts off great–you sign up for the gym membership and get going on a diet, but a month later most people stop going to the gym and their diet has fallen by the wayside. What  happened?

Well, this case is like most. You failed because you set the wrong goal in the first place. Very few people really love going to the gym and I haven’t heard of a single person say they love dieting. So right off the bat we have a big problem. You don’t really want to do the thing you set out to do. So you force yourself for a month or two and then you quit. Perfectly normal behavior. No one wants to carry on doing something they don’t like doing so why should you be any different?

They key to being successful is to pick goals that you really want to do in the first place. In the case of losing weight, you want the end result–a healthy, fit and attractive body. Instead of a goal to lose weight, focus on the end result. How can I achieve that? There are loads of ways to do that that could be fun and enjoyable such as becoming a yoga teacher, taking dance lessons or kick-boxing classes, joining a running, walking, or cycling group, learning to swim or entering a marathon.

The main reason people fail to complete their goals is that they’ve chosen the wrong goal. The second reason people don’t accomplish their goals is that they lack a rock solid structure for support. The key to success is not discipline or willpower or inspiration. Those might get you started, but they won’t be enough to sustain you. You need to set up a structure for support that will ensure your success, even when you don’t feel like doing it anymore. If you do like going to the gym, then a structure for success might be setting up a regular work-out buddy or hiring a personal trainer. For nutrition, you may be amazed to discover you save money by hiring a professional service to prepare your meals for you.

A great article that may well interest you is The Trick to Making a List of Goals or Wishes Come True.

Talane’s Checklist for Success:

  1. Pick the right goal. Is it aligned to one of your top four values? If a goal is aligned to one of your core values, even if you never reach the end result, you will still have fun and enjoy the process. You won’t be wasting your precious time on the wrong objective. At the very least, make sure your goal is enjoyable, challenging or fun.
  2. If a goal is over one year old, toss it. Don’t waste time trying to resuscitate a dead goal. Pick a new goal that truly excites you instead.
  3. Set up a rock solid structure for support. This might be a buddy, a life coach, any automatic system that kicks in when you don’t feel up to it. If your goal is wealth, then set up an automatic savings account to start. The key is to put in place sufficient systems or support so that you can’t fail.
  4. Focus. Only pick one or two big goals for the year. A big goal takes six months to one year to accomplish. You can also have three projects going at any one time. A project takes less time. One of your three projects should always be supporting your big goal. The other two can be whatever you want, but don’t tackle a fourth project until you complete one of the three. Most people spread themselves too thin and dilute their time, energy and resources. For example, if your big goal is to write a book, then a supporting project might be to do some research or to write one chapter. If your big goal is health and vitality, then a supporting project might be to hire a nutritionist or take a dance class. It is okay if all three of your projects support your big goal, in fact, it is great!

P.S. One simple way to set up  a rock solid structure for support is to join the fun and supportive community at LifeCoach.com. All our members get a weekly life coaching assignment that will keep you focused on improving your life throughout the year. And, all LifeCoach.com members get to participate in the Life Coaching Call-In-hours where you can ask me any questions you want. Can’t make the calls? You can email us ahead of the call with your life coaching question and we send out a recording so you can catch-up when it suits you. Don’t get stuck this year!

Talane Miedaner
Talane Miedaner is a Master Life Coach and the founder of LifeCoach.com. She is the international bestselling author of Coach Yourself to Success: 101 Tips for Accomplishing Your Personal and Professional Goals (McGraw-Hill, 2014), Coach Yourself to a New Career as well as The Secret Laws of Attraction.

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