The new year rolled in and, as always, I am sure most of you set up expectations and goals. Now we are one month in and, as always, I am sure most of you either never started or already lost focus.
This is not meant to put anyone down or be condescending. Same thing used to happen to me all the time, until I figured out what I was doing wrong.
First, you need to realize that the reason most people fail is because their “goal” was not a goal at all. It was a hope, dream, wish, etc. They wanted “x” in the same manner that a kid wishes for a present from Santa at Christmas time.
In fact, the kid wishing from Santa probably wanted that gift way more then most people want to accomplish their goals, which is sad.
Realize the difference between actually wanting something and choosing something that you would just like to have. Seems similar, but it is VERY different. When it comes to setting a goal, most of you are probably using the word “want” in the complete wrong context.
“I want a promotion” “I want to make more money” “I want to get a new car”
Without a proper action plan, defining characteristics or time frame in place, you can go back to those statements above and replace “I want” with “I would like to have” because they are not goals.
This does not mean the statements in the above paragraph cannot be goals. They very well can be turned into goals, it just depends on what you specifically are wanting to achieve.
This is where you need to define your want. Think very carefully and reflect on what is actually important. If you want a new car, what are the steps you need to take to get there?
If you want to achieve a promotion, what tasks or small goals along the way need to be accomplished? There is a system in place that I use when forming any of my goals going forward. It is called the “s.m.a.r.t. goal”(The acronym stands for specific measurable achievable relevant and time bound.)
If you use this process you will be able to map out the course for hitting your goal. It will also help you manage proper expectations which is a very key component of setting a goal.
Most people get discouraged and give up before they hit their goal because they had unrealistic expectations on when or how long it would actually take. Let’s go over the steps below so you can really understand how to set up your goal.
The goal you are choosing must be very clearly defined. For instance, if your goal is to get a car you must know exactly every detail about that car.
What brand do you want? Suv or sedan? Once you pick out the car, you need to choose which model of that car you want. What options are you going to need in that car? Heated seats? Back-up camera? Used, new or certified pre-owned?
Just wanting to get a new car is something you would like to have, but wanting to get a brand new white Audi S4 with red leather interior, extended warranty and Audi care.. that is a true “want”.
Once you have the specific goal identified, you need to figure how you are going to get there and what metric you are going to use to measure this progress.
This is how you stay focused and on track. To continue with the example of the car, the most reasonable metric to use in tracking this goal would be money.
First understand your current budget. How much can you afford per month? How much can you afford to put down? Is this going to change the cost of your car insurance?
How much does gas cost for this car in regards to the average amount of miles you drive per month? Do you have a trade in and are you positive or negative in the equity of your trade in?
Now you need to figure out how much you will need to save to make up the difference. If you cannot change your monthly budget, you will need to focus on saving in order to put out a bigger down payment.
How much do you need to save total and how much can you put aside each paycheck? Do you need to pick up a side job temporarily? If it is important to you, there is nothing that should stop you from making this happen.
This is more of a check point. After realizing the monetary obligations and amount you will need to get there, you need to ask yourself if this goal is actually something that is realistic.
If you have to take money away from other necessary aspects of your life or if you need to save up an amount of money that will take an extremely long amount of time to get there, it may very well not be achievable.
How does this goal matter to you personally. Is this the right time to focus on this goal? Will it take away from other focuses in your life that may be more important right now?
You need to reflect and make sure this is a benefit to your life. For instance, the car example could very well be a luxury as opposed to a benefit. Depends on your current life situation.
There are many other specific goals that could be a lot more relevant to your overall success. This is something only you personally can decide.
Obviously, every goal needs a deadline. When does this need to happen by? However, that is not the only time focus you should have.
Progress timelines need to be set as well in order to monitor your progress and keep you on pace. What needs to be done halfway through? Quarter way through? By the end of this day?
All of these should be mapped out so you are always focused and working towards your goal.
Take all of these points into consideration and make yourself a SMART goal sheet so you can structure your goals to figure out if it is something you even should be going for right now and if so, what is the path to get there?
If you need any advice just shoot me a message and I can help out. Now do some serious thinking and figure out what you really want and how you can get there.