Goal setting is a hot topic in many domains of our lives. If we want to achieve anything in life, it’s important to set a goal and figure out what we need to do to achieve our goals. Goals give us focus and direction, goals motivate us, and give us a sense of purpose. Goals shape our daily actions and behaviors to help us become the best versions of ourselves.
Most of us have heard of SMART goals. What the SMART acronym actually stands for varies, but the value of making sure your goals adhere to it is valid.
Sometimes we set a goal for ourselves, then haul ass and get after it; we don’t stop until we achieve it. Sometimes we set a goal that’s complex, overwhelming or vague and its hard to see what we need to do next. Sometimes we want to set a goal but don’t even know where to start.
I want you to achieve your goals. I don’t want to lay out the perfect goal setting plan that will help ensure you achieve them. I don’t think there is a one size fits all planning system. I want to dig into why you aren’t achieving your goals. There are targeted strategies to help with where you tend to struggle.
Reflecting on goals, I’ve found five major challenge areas that help target solution strategies. These challenge areas include Identifying Your Goal, Motivation, Obstacles, Action Planning and Manageable Chunks, and Accountability.
I have developed a short inventory to help you identify where you struggle with achieving your goals. Click here to access inventory.
Identifying Your Goal
Identifying your goal in a clear, measurable and attainable way is crucial if you want to achieve your goal. People that struggle identifying their goal may set unattainable goals, may feel aimless and not know what they want to do next, or have trouble deciding what they want to pursue.
Motivation encapsulates the desire and drive to do the work to achieve your goal. It’s important to leverage the right sources of motivation to achieve your goal. People that struggle with motivation may wonder why they are pursuing something, may be excited to start a goal but that excitement wanes quickly, or may not be excited at all about their goals.
Running into obstacles is a guarantee when working on your goals. How you face and manage these obstacles is the defining factor in whether you achieve your goals. People that struggle with managing obstacles may give up easily in the face of obstacles, get overwhelmed, or feel stuck not knowing what to do next. They may also feel surrounded by temptation and experience decision fatigue.
Action Planning and Manageable Chunks
A goal without a plan is just a wish. People that struggle creating an action plan or breaking a goal into manageable chunks may feel they are drowning in minutiae or choking on the largeness of a goal. They generally don’t know what to do next.
Accountability is doing what you say you’re going to do; sticking to your plan. People that struggle with accountability can’t see if they have made progress towards their goal, they may “fall off the wagon” when other commitments hit, and generally stick to their plan better when they have someone else to support them in accountability.
If achieving our goals were easy, many of us would be millionaires changing the world with great bodies and perfect happiness. It’s hard, and there’s a lot that gets in the way. We all get stuck sometimes. The key is to know how to get unstuck.
Stay tuned for the next blog post to learn a targeted strategy for each of the challenge areas.
Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2006). New Directions in Goal-Setting Theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(5), 265–268.
Oettingen, G., et.al. (2009). Mental contrasting and goal commitment: The mediating role of energization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(5), 608-622.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.