“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Many times, we set goals for ourselves that end up getting delayed severely or never reached. Setting and achieving a goal requires a process. I do not know how many times I have thrown a goal out there, like “I want to lose 10 pounds”, without even considering the steps it takes to reach that goal. If you think about it, our goals are broken down into two phases, The Planning Phase and The Action Phase. Each of these phases are steps to achieving your goals.
The Planning Phase
- I would like to introduce you to the acronym SMART. This means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Everything pertaining to goal setting is in this acronym. This is where you identify your goal. What is it you are wanting to achieve? Be specific when you write out your goal. Put a “suspense” on it. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight this year”, say “I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months.” By putting a suspense on your goal, it holds you accountable.
- Let us identify Benefits and Obstacles. This is where it gets real. Now that you have your goal identified, it is time to examine the pros and cons. What will you gain from this goal? What obstacles in life may arise on your journey to your goal? If we continue to use the 10-pound weight loss example, a benefit for achieving that goal may be feeling better or having a healthier life. Some obstacles that may arise are setting boundaries when it comes to different foods and atmospheres. Easier said than done right? Discipline is key, but there is always wiggle room to cut yourself some slack on your journey.
- Positive Affirmations and Self-talk are enormously powerful. During this planning phase, you need to identify some Power Statements. An example would be “I will do my best every day to exercise. I will not give up on myself. I will be the best version of myself that I can possibly be.”
The Action Phase
- This is where the work begins. During this phase you will be putting your goal into action. You have identified you goal, put a suspense on it, identified the benefits and obstacles, and made some affirmations/power statements. Now what? Now it is time to identity what you can do within the next 24 hours to set yourself up for success with your goal. An example for the weight loss goal would be “In the next 24 hours, I will write down my workouts for the week, meal prep, and get my workout clothes ready.” Action! Clear and straight to the point.
- How are you going to stay motivated? Some goals that we make take time, and it may become challenging to stay the course when that happens. You must identify what you can do to stay motivated. Whether it is sticky notes, a daily, weekly, or monthly reminder, or a quote…….you know what works best for you. I am more of a visual person, so I need to see a list of my goals and deadline. On my mirror is where I keep it because it is a daily reminder.
- Now it is time to follow up. You need a plan to check for progress. Is what I am doing working? Am I closer to my goals? Have I had any setbacks? What can I do different? These are all important questions to ask ourselves. There may be a point where we begin to plateau or need to change our strategy and that is normal. Doing a weekly or monthly check for progress is a must. Weekly check-ins can also become goals. You may get small victories to boost your motivation or need to adjust your strategies to reaching your goals.
Now that we have talked about the two phases and all that they entail, you should be ready to set and achieve your goal. Keep in mind, all these steps can be performed multiple times for the same goal or more than one goal at a time. Have patience with yourself, work hard, and have faith that you will indeed accomplish your goal.