There seems to be quite a lot of controversy around goal setting sometimes, but I think typically it is more in the context of ‘new year, new me’ style resolutions. I don’t think personally that setting goals for self-improvement is a bad thing, as long as it comes from a place of wanting to improve things from a place of self-care rather than a place of self-hate.
When it comes to goal-setting we tend to make a really long list of goals, write them down somewhere, maybe tell a friend about them – stick to the plan for a few weeks…and then that is kind of it. We set it and forget it.
Did you know that around 80-90% of people never achieve their goals? That’s a high percentage.
The goals that you are setting should be goals that you REALLY want to achieve. It’s not enough to just set goals, you need to visualise them, keep working on them and revisit them every 2-3 months.
Unless you are making a plan for your goals, the truth of it is – you are probably not going to achieve them.
Want to or Should want to?
We are all guilty of setting goals (myself included) that we never truly want to achieve. They are goals we think we SHOULD achieve because everyone else seems to be aiming for them.
This is one of the reasons why a lot of people never hit their goals. Or they manage to keep their will-power going for the first couple of months of the year and then it just kinda…fizzles out.
The truth is that if you do not truly want to achieve a certain goal, you probably won’t achieve that goal. It’s hard to keep doing something if it’s not what you actually want.
For example, run a half marathon. This one has been on my goal list for a few years in a row. I ran the Cardiff Half marathon back in 2017, I didn’t train enough for it, and it was a really horrendous experience. I hated every second of it. Whilst doing my (minimal) training for it, I realised that I really don’t enjoy running outside. I love running indoors on a treadmill but running outdoors isn’t my thing.
BUT, every year I added ‘run a half marathon’ to my goal list. Every year I would fail. I suddenly realised that I wasn’t really going on the treadmill for my usual running either.
My subconscious, without me realising it was self-sabotaging me reaching that goal because it was such a horrible experience it didn’t want me to go through it again. So when I realised that, realised I hate outside running and marathons are just not for me, my love of running on the treadmill suddenly came back.
So maybe if you have a goal that keeps being added to your goal list every year but yet you never achieve it, maybe take a step back and ask yourself why? Is it something you actually want to do or just something you think you should do?
So let’s get stuck in to how we CAN work out what we want and how we can start achieving them.
How to visualise your goals.
I think that one of the easiest and simplest ways to truly know what goals you want to achieve is to visualise them.
So how do we do this?
- When you have a bit of peace and quiet, close your eyes and get still.
- Imagine what you would like your life to look like a year from now. I usually do it with a birds eye view of myself, you may do it from your own view – both are totally fine.
- Don’t just see how you would like your life to look like, really imagine that that is how your life. How do you feel? What can you see/touch/hear? What are you wearing? Where are you? Who is with you? What are you thinking in that vision?
- Write it down. Write as much of your vision down as you can, as if you are writing a story.
Just as a side note, people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them!
Once we have a vision in place of what we would like our life to look like a year from now. The next step is to work out how to get there.
We could jump in the next (Mon)day with all the things that we imagine that upgraded future version of us is doing everyday – which will end up like all those other times we tried to achieve our goals.
Or, we could reverse our goals and actually achieve them.
Back to our vision…
So we have our vision.
The next step is to make a note of how our life right now is different to our life in that vision.
e.g. ‘In my vision I have read 30 books but right now I don’t read any books’.
After we have done this the next step is to note how we are going to get from life now to our vision life.
Using the example above, my goal would be to ‘start reading’.
‘Start reading’ on it’s own isn’t enough.
The goal needs a plan.
Reverse our goals
We now need to be specific about what our end goal is.
For the above example, it would be ‘By the 31st December 2021 I will have read 30 books’.
If we left it at that, we probably wouldn’t achieve it. Going from zero books to thirty books is quite a big jump and might seem a bit overwhelming.
So we need to reverse the goal – the end goal is 30 books, so the step before that would be read 29 books, and before that 28 books etc etc until you finally get to ‘read one book’.
That isn’t as daunting.
It may be a goal that you don’t have much experience at all in, so ‘read one book’ may need to be broken down even further e.g. find a genre I enjoy reading or buy/loan a book.
Then it’s a case of working out your daily/weekly/monthly goals so that you can reach that end goal.
Carrying on with this book example my finished goal may look something like this…
- Find a genre I enjoy reading.
- Buy a book.
- Aim to read 1 chapter every night.
- Read 1 book every week.
- Read 3 books every month.
- Keep going.
The important thing is to remember to check in!
Check in with your goals when ever feels right for you, but make sure you never go longer than checking every 2/3 months.
If you check in with your goal every 2 months, it will help you stay on track, or get back on track!
If you don’t check in until month 9 – it’s too late to read all those books in that amount of time and you will not be able to reach your goal.
What goals have you set this year? Let me know in the comments!