9 Questions to ask yourself when setting goals
If you were asked about your goals how would you respond? Can you say exactly what you are trying to achieve and when you expect to achieve it? How about the path to get there? How much planning have you put into your success?
What comes next?
In my last blog post, I talked about setting goals instead of new year's resolutions. (You can find that blog post here: https://coffeeyogalife.com/blogs/thoughts/no-more-new-years-resolutions.) After thinking about it, I realize that most people have an idea of what they want but haven't put much more thought into their success. Having a goal is wonderful; it's the first step to becoming successful. The next step, the one that is most often skipped over, is planning. The path to success must be carefully thought through; that is how you will be able to get back on your feet when the road gets rough. Even if you are not a planner you need to make time to go through this process. It is absolutely critical to your success.
When planning your success, start by asking yourself these 3 questions:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Why do I want to achieve this goal?
- When do I want to accomplish this?
What do you want?
You must be able to state exactly what you want to do. It can't be generic like "I want to lose weight" or "I want to eat healthier". You must be able to explicitly state what you want to accomplish: "I want to lose 50 lbs" or "I will remove refined sugars from my diet". Now consider why you want to achieve this goal. If you are trying to lose weight, is it so that you look better or is it to avoid heart problems?If you are changing the way you eat, is it because you want to lose weight or to help your kids build healthy eating habits? Whatever your reason, make sure you are doing this because it's what YOU want. Now that you've identified what and why, you need to define when you want to achieve your goal. Please be realistic here. Do not give yourself a ridiculous timeline. If you do, all you are doing is setting yourself up for failure.
So now you have defined what you are going to accomplish, why it is important to you, and when you want to accomplish the goal.
Congratulations!!! This is a huge step to you achieving your goal!!!
The next questions for you to consider are:
- What are the obstacles and excuses that will prevent me from achieving my goal?
- In what ways can I avoid or mitigate those obstacles and excuses?
- What are the top 3 milestones I must reach that will push me towards success?
- How will you celebrate achieving each milestone?
- How will you celebrate achieving your end goal?
- How will you feel when you achieve your goal?
This is where the fun starts
Identify the reasons that are preventing you from pursuing your goal right now. What are the excuses that you come up with- e.g. “I’m too tired" or "I'll do it tomorrow”? What external obstacles will make it difficult for you to take the necessary steps to reach your milestones? This can include spouse or kid schedules, transportation, finances, etc. Write down the top 5 obstacles. Now for each obstacle that you have listed, identify ways to prevent them from getting in your way. Examples are getting up 30 minutes earlier to workout at home to avoid the gym cost and trying to find babysitting. Or spending a few hours meal prepping on Sunday, so that you are not tempted to go out for lunch or dinner during the week due to working late or feeling lazy. For almost every reason you can think of, there are actions that you can take to keep you on track to success.
After planning how you will overcome your obstacles, write down the top 3 actions that are necessary for your success. These are the actions that will make sure you are on track to accomplish your goal. They could be creating a bi-weekly meal plan and shopping list, waking up early 3 days per week for 4 weeks, selecting a new recipe each week to liven up dinner, or finding a workout channel on YouTube and having the video ready to play as soon as you wake up. Whatever actions will help ensure you are on the right path.
Now you've identified your what, why, when, and how. It's time to plan your celebrations. Achieving your goals is no easy task. Each achievement MUST be celebrated. You have been working extremely hard and you deserve to celebrate each step that gets you closer to your end goal. Decide how you will celebrate reaching each milestone. Include it in your planning so that you constantly remind yourself of the treat you have waiting for you. For the smaller milestones it doesn't have to be something big and expensive; just be sure that it is something you are looking forward to. It can be lunch with a friend or a trip to the nail salon. Save the big celebration for the achievement of your end goal. This is where you can plan a special trip or purchasing a new wardrobe. This is your time to shine, you did it!
Each one of us is different and wish to achieve different goals. Whatever your goal is, it is yours and yours alone. Nobody can take it from you. You are the owner whether your goal is achieved or not.
I know I have just given you a lot to digest in this post. It may sound daunting, but I promise it is not. To make it a little easier for you, I have created a PDF that you can use to walk you through each of the steps above. You can find it here: https://bit.ly/2MkXIJD
Once you've completed the worksheet, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.