As stated in my last blog, I am no stranger to goal setting (read about my vision board fiasco here). Goal setting is easy. Goal achieving, however? Not quite as simple.
Last winter, Nicole, Kennedy Financial Group’s Operations Director, and I learned this the hard way. We signed up for an intense eight week long weight lifting program. As we went into the challenge, we felt nervous but confident. As the weeks passed, our emotions and resolve wavered. But, we finished out the eight weeks and felt so proud of ourselves. As we went along, we learned some valuable lessons regarding goal setting vs. goal achieving. Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership program also shared some helpful tips. As we go through our 100 Days Challenge, we are trying to keep these lessons top of mind.
1) Learn How to Set a Goal
In years past, whenever I’d set a goal and fail to reach it, I’d get frustrated. If I was working hard, why wasn’t I able to achieve the results I wanted? Then, I realized, I wasn’t setting the right type of goals. Over time, I learned when setting goals they should be SMART:
- Specific – State exactly what you want to do and use action words. Instead of “I want to get fit,” say “I want to bench press 150 lbs.” It’s specific and dynamic. Weight lifting leads to fitness, but it’s a specific action you can take to achieve a broader goal.
- Measurable – Have specific metrics and measurable data you can reach. Again, instead of “I want to get fit,” “I want to bench press 150 lbs.” has a measurable outcome.
- Achievable– While losing 20 lbs in two weeks SOUNDS great, it’s not actually achievable in a healthy way. Make sure the goals you’re setting can be achieved without sacrificing your physical, mental, spiritual or financial health.
- Relevant – Ask yourself a very important question: why do I want to achieve this goal? If you figure out “your why,” it gives your goal purpose and relevance in your life.
- Time-Bound- Have a date you want to accomplish your goal by. Hold yourself to a deadline.
Setting goals this way turns vague goals with no measurable outcomes or purpose into something you’re excited to accomplish.
2) Plan Proactively
During the fitness challenge, Nicole and I learned very quickly that winging it was not going to get us very far. Without scheduling our workouts ahead of time and planning and preparing our meals, it was way too easy to skip working out or eat whatever was available and not hit our targets.
Scheduling time to take actionable steps towards your goal is an absolute must. Treat appointments with yourself with the same seriousness that you would appointments with your boss. Proactive planning also allows you to look at the week and month ahead and foresee any obstacles you may come up against. With a plan, it’s easy to conquer whatever comes your way. Without one, you may be more tempted to throw in the towel.
3) Measure Daily
Setting goals that are measurable is an extremely important part of achieving success. By giving yourself something to measure up to daily, you’ll be more motivated because you’ll be able to celebrate successes on your way to achieving your goal. You get to track milestones!
Attaching a specific number to your goal (5k, 20 lbs, 30 minutes each day, etc.), gives you a target to hit. For example, my personal goal during this challenge is to run a 5k. The way that I am measuring myself along the way is by :
- Setting a goal of how many times a week I want to run and
- Tracking how far I run each time I go out and how long it takes me.
Check in with yourself each day – how much farther did you run today than you did yesterday? How many more pages did you read today versus yesterday? By measuring daily, you’re tracking your progress and keeping yourself motivated!
4) Check In Intentionally
I mentioned in our last blog that having an accountability partner increases your odds of reaching a goal by over 85%. Honestly, without Nicole’s encouragement during the fitness challenge, I definitely would have bailed. Having a friend to share the experience with makes it more fun and, you have someone to check in with who will encourage you to keep working at it even when the going gets tough or you’re not feeling motivated.
During the 100 days challenge, Kennedy Financial Group will be there to keep you accountable, but having someone to check with you daily will also be a huge help! We have also found that sharing progress towards a goal daily on social media is also a great way to stay accountable and, you may end up motivating others – a win- win!
5) Adapt Accordingly
The wonderful thing about being a planner is that when things go well- they go really well. I find fewer things more satisfying than planning an event or mapping out a plan to reach a goal and having it come to fruition. The other side of that coin is when something unexpected comes along- I have a tendency to, well, crumble. My hyper-organized nature collapses into anxiety and worry.
As you can imagine, the pandemic and all of the unknowns it has brought has been rough. This is not an experience that is unique to me by any means, but I have found that this year has been a wonderful practice in “radical acceptance.” I can only change my actions and reactions and, I have to let go of the rest. I have had to rid myself of “black-and-white” thinking and adopt an attitude of progress over perfection. Adapting to reach your goals or even adapting the goals themselves is never something to be ashamed of, but a sign of lessons learned!
Use Our Goal Setting Worksheet!
While goal achieving is a lot harder than goal setting, we truly believe that if you set SMART goals, plan proactively, measure daily, check in intentionally and adapt accordingly, you will reach your goals in no time at all. As a tool to make the 100 Days Challenge easier for our participants, we have created this goal tracker to help you create an action plan for your goals. We encourage you to use it and share your action plans with our team!
Email us your goal tracker at email@example.com . We’d love to see your plans and send you some encouragement as you get started!
Dave Ramsey, SmartVestor and Entreleadearship are not affiliated with Kennedy Financial Group, HighPoint Planning Partners or LPL Financial.