Thursday, January 6, 2011

Setting Goals in the New Year

Q. I read your article about New Day Resolutions. I am wanting to set goals in the new year, fitness and learning something new, that I feel I can actually achieve. It just feels like I make plans and don't follow through with them s often. Do you have any suggestions for me?

A. Did you know that studies show only 3% of people in the United States set goals? Zig Ziglar, motivation speaker, tells us those people also happen to be the wealthiest! Setting goals is a great idea, but you must do it right if you want to achieve them. When we as counselors have someone come in for counseling, the first thing we do with them is set goals. We have to know what they are working toward if we will ever see progress.

There is a time honored acronym to remember when setting goals: SMAART. It stands for:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Accountable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
Be Specific
You want to write out your goals and be as specific with them as possible. Know exactly what is that you want to accomplish.

You want to be able to answer the question: "How will I know I have accomplished my goal?". It cannot be abstract like, "I will feel better." But needs to be a measurable unit such as times per week, pounds lost, or scriptures memorized.

This one is very important! You must set your sights on something you can do. If you set yourself up for failure, you will be less likely in the future to want to set goals. However, if you set your sights on something that is attainable, then you will feel mastery and success. This sets you up to wanting more. Make sure you have your expectations in order.

You will want to talk to other people about your goal as well. The more people know what you are working for, the more likely you are to want to achieve your goal. Get a group of friends together and talk about what your goals are. Once you have established your goal, written it down, and found accountability, you are on a great track for success.

Make sure the means by which you plan to achieve your goal are within your reach. Can you afford this? Can you give it the time necessary? Is your family going to suffer if you work on it? There are many questions you need to ask yourself if you want to be realistic about your life and your capacity to accomplish your goal.

Set yourself a time frame. Putting an end to your goal gives you a clear picture of where the finish line is. Without a time limit there is no urgency to get started. We all work better on a time table. Whether it is a week, a month or 1 year, it is important to put an end to your goal.

If you are looking for something to guide you along your path in goal setting, Zig Ziglar has a great goal sheet you can follow. Zig Ziglar's Goal Sheet: Click Here

Good luck to you in your goal setting in 2011. Hopefully by making a SMAART Goal, you will see yourself in the elite 3% of our nation that has learned to achieve what they want.

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.

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