The Art of Goal Setting
Intention is a powerful thing. It just takes clarity about what we want to achieve to make some big waves in our lives and the lives of others. Without setting aside the time to create a specific, realistic and purely motivated goal, however, we risk staying in personal development limbo for months or our entire lives.
An article by Harvard University recommends a similar magical recipe for goal setting, stating that, “learning, motivation, and self-regulation can be improved when students pursue goals that are concrete, proximal, meaningful and optimally difficult.” Basically, the clearer, more realistic and deeper our goals are, the more likely we are to achieve them, while learning about ourselves along the way.
Whether we want to hit a new fitness target, refine our diet or lead a more mindful life, we have the power to manifest whatever we desire. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to get the visionary process started:
WHAT ARE YOU AFTER?
What’s your goal? More specifically, what do you want to create in your life? Whatever it is, set a focus and be specific. If you're drawing a blank, focus on what you’re ready to give up instead because it's just as valuable to let go of toxic things in your life.
A vague goal leads to vague results. Rather than writing down your hopes and dreams, jot down a specific action plan for getting there. For example, instead of saying you'll lose ‘lose 30 pounds,’ create a clear weekly workout and meal plan that’ll help you get there, with a timeline for checking in on your progress. Make it clear and simple.
ARE YOU FOR REAL?
It can be a hard thing to do, but it’s worth it to float down from the clouds every now and then and ask yourself if you’re being realistic with your goals. If you're ready to change the world, you can do it, just give yourself the time and proper support to make it happen. Set yourself up for success with a little planning and patience.
For example, if you’re hoping to make it to the triathlon in two weeks and you just had knee surgery, look at the effort versus reward equation and remember that there's no power in prolonging injury or pain. Everything- especially healing- happens one step at a time. Get real and you’ll get there.
WHAT’S YOUR WHY?
The WHY in goal setting is really important. If you’re motivated by superficial factors to achieve your goal, you’re more likely to give up on yourself at some point or another. An upcoming high school reunion, for example, may be enough to get you hitting the gym hard for several weeks up to the event, but it likely won't keep you going after the party's over.
A deeper, more purely motivated goal would involve the long-term or something greater than yourself, like being fit enough to play soccer with your kids, or preventing hereditary heart disease. Why do you want to create this specific shift in your life? Get asking. Get clear. Get going.