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Resolutions: Make Your Goals SMARTER (2)

February 4th, 2015 1 comment

unrealistic goals

In my last blog we discussed how to bring clarity to our dream by making our goals SMARTER.

For starters, make sure your goal is very specific. Specificity helps you to get your hands around it.

Next, make sure your goal is measurable. This involves attaching some numerical standards to your goal. Ten pounds of weight loss by April 1st. One chapter written a month. You get the point.

Let’s move on to cover two more important elements of effective goal setting.

Actionable

We often shroud our goals under the cover of vague “to be” statements. For instance, I want to be a better father. That sounds so noble, so admirable and so fuzzy! What does that look like?

I want to be more consistent with my blog writing. That’s nice. But what does “be more consistent” mean? This goal is neither measurable or action – oriented.

It’s much more effective to begin each written goal with an action verb. Before you break into a cold sweat with traumatic memories of middle school English class, let me give you some examples of action verbs.

I will write two blog posts each week.

I will read 2 books a month.

I will run 3 miles a day.

Now back to “being a good father.” How do we translate this into action?

I will read a book to my children each night before bed.

I will pray with my son every night before tucking him into bed.

I will communicate my love for my daughter by writing a special note each week and placing it in her lunch box.

Action verbs help us “see” what the completed goal looks like.

A second problem with our goals is that they are often…

Realistic

Our goals should push us beyond our current comfort zone, but not push us over the cliff. In other words, they must be doable. They need to be realistic.

I can dream of my performance in this year’s NBA All Star game but it’s simply delusional no matter how hard I try.

I get a little amused with the positive mental attitude, if-you-can-think-it-you-can-achieve it pep talk people. This “if you can dream it you can achieve it” preaching borders on blasphemy! We are not God. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think, but we don’t have the kind of power.

A better approach is to develop goals that push us out of our comfort zone without killing us!

Don’t go back to the health club for the first time in a year and do a three hour work out! You’ll be so sore the next day you won’t be able to move, let alone go back to the gym. A better goal would be to open the health club door, feel the surge of accomplishment and go home! You’ll be much more likely to return again if you take a realistic approach to your fitness.

Have you translated your desires into actionable goals?

Are your goals realistic? Are you challenged but not overwhelmed?