Goal setting is one of my very favorite things, but I know we are not all that way. However, most of us have a desire to take on a new hobby or make changes to improve our lives.
In a recent post on vision, I described what it means to develop a vision, painted picture, from which we can put goals and desires into place. For some people, this takes the form of making a new years resolution or a goal that spans the whole year. The Statistic Brain Research Institute did a study about people that make new years resolutions. They found that only about 41% of the population make them and of the one’s that make them only 9.2% were successful in achieving their resolution.
That’s probably a good part of the reason why the other 59% of the population don’t even make new years resolutions. They don’t stick. We set our heart on achieving something and then we get frustrated when we don’t stick them out.
So why bother…what is the point in making goals?
I’ll tell you why…we do want to do these things that make our lives better. We want to take on new interests and new ways of being. But without a goal and plan to do that we just tend to spin our wheels.
So then the question is….how do we make changes that stick?
As a coach, helping people make goals that stick is one of the main parts of my job. It is not simple though. There are several things that we need to keep in mind when we map out our desires and then put then into action. and reassessing and making a new plan when they don’t is what I do in it’s most basic form. It can be tough but also so worth it when you put into motion that desire or dream.
This winter I read the book, The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do In 12 Months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. Below I share the common places that we get trip up and some wisdom from their book in being successful with our goals.
Here are the things that often get us tripped up when it comes to putting our desires in motion:
Don’t: Make too large of goals: Sometimes we think too grandly. We desire something and instead of taking a little goal bite off of it we bite off more then we can accomplish and then we give up too soon.
Instead: Make a goal for a three month interval. Biting off a one year goal is too much and it can provoke failure because we procrastinate when we have so much time or we lose passion for the goal because it doesn’t really reflect where we are at a year from now. Then make sure the goal is very small and doable in that time. It is better to bite off less and end in success.
Don’t: Make the goal and keep it in the back of your mind without doing anything about it.
Instead: Moran and Lennington recommend that you bring your goal into the “everyday” by reviewing your goal briefly each day. I have my goals on bright index cards by my desk where I can easily see them everytime I sit down. Our family goals are decoratively displayed in a shadow box in our dining room. This makes them more real and memorable.
Don’t: Make goals in a vacuum. Though I told you I like making goals, I can definitely be guilty of letting goals swim around in my head without telling anyone about them or getting them on paper. Then what happens is, they stay swimming around in my head and never grow legs to actually happen.
Instead: Write the goal down so it is visible. Then let other people know what you are doing. We need the support and accountability of others. That is why there are goal Facebook groups and why there are Weight Watchers group just to name a few. I find I need to share with my husband what thing I want to change, so that in my moment of weakness I know he will see that I am not what I set out to do. Write the goal down in a visible place and share them with others. There are many ways to share you goals with others. You may just want to share you goals with your spouse or significant other since their are your biggest source of accountability and support. Or you may have an accountability partner or group. I started a group in January with a few friends. And honestly, it is a great source for support, trouble shooting, and laughter. Or you might want to have one friend that is your accountability partner and provides prayer and support. Working with a life coaching is also a great way to make that goal stick. Life coaches help you figure out the best technique for achieving your goals, evaluate stuck moments to move you through them, and give you needed accountability.
Don’t: Assume that the goal will happen without a set plan and systems in place.
Instead: Make a plan for how you want to accomplish the goal. Will you work up to the big change by starting off in little goals? What everyday systems will you put in place to make the change become more a part of your everyday and be easier? How will you make the changes you desire fun? Will you reward yourself?
Don’t: Assume that everything is going to go well.
Instead: Anticipate the struggles. You know yourself well enough to know that there will be some struggles when it comes to meeting your goals. Have a plan for combating the struggles. Anticipated struggles may also be big enough that you want to rework your goal in advance to make it easier to achieve.