Get Real About Goal Setting

This past month, conversation after conversation, the young people I have been privileged to work with have shared a common concern. It goes a little like this…

“So I’ve been really struggling with my time management. I’m feeling like there are not enough hours in the day to figure things out and fit things in. I know where I want to get, but every day, something gets in my way. I’m starting to wonder if I need to be more realistic about my plans.”

Possibly. When we’re talking goal setting, the go-to acronym is S.M.A.R.T. So we check in.

Is the goal specific and measurable? 

Or is it vague and difficult to quantify? If the latter, it’s time to tidy things up and narrow in. Our goal needs to address who, what, where, why and when and we need to identify how we will know when it’s accomplished.

Next, is the goal attainable and realistic?

Many factors determine the answer to this question. It’s important to strive to meet our potential, but we also need to recognise our current limits. These might include personal or external circumstances, sometimes both! Either way, our goal must be something we are willing AND able to work towards.

Finally, is the goal timely?

Deadlines assist in creating a sense of urgency, fuelling motivation for accomplishment.

So let’s assume we’ve established a SMART goal. What could possibly be getting in the way? Many people establish well-meaning goals, but lack the skills to develop a plan. Further, they fail to second guess obstacles that may get in their way. Alternatively, obstacles are imagined, and are catastrophized to a point that our goals feel pointless, and we, useless.

Dreaming is just the first step. Planning is the necessary second and doing, the essential third. Obstacles are inevitable. But your attitude and if/then blueprints set you apart from the dreamer. Instead, you become the do-er.

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There are thousands of approaches aimed at ensuring your dream planning and doing stays on track. Just google “goal setting” and you’ll be swamped by a thousand strategies. Here at The Posify Group, we endeavour to direct you toward scientifically validated strategies. There’s no need to re-write the book here. Rather, we encourage you to check out the Character Lab. Their dedicated team have drawn together the scientific findings to provide downloadable worksheets, readings and workshop materials based on the work of Dr Gabriel Oettingen. We use WOOP every day, fleshing out a Wish, Outcome, Obstacle and Plan for every goal we have the privilege of working with.  Use it as a starting point to find a goal setting strategy that works for you.

Keep that dream alive. Altering it along the way may be a realistic and wise option. But giving up on the thing that defines your purpose? NEVER!!

If you found this article useful, you may find our 'Project You' program just as helpful. Contact us here for details of our next session in your area.