We all have things we want in life – strong, healthy relationships, financial security, relaxing holidays away, to feel happy and content with where we are, the list goes on. But how can you make these abstract desires feel tangible and achievable? Let’s talk about goal setting with SMART goals!
It’s one thing to desire something, but actively setting a goal to achieve it is taking it to the next level. It’s at that point you dedicate thought, emotion, behaviour and action to the thing you want and make it a goal – you’re committed to making it happen!
Why Set Goals?
Setting both short-term and long-term goals is a great way of bringing clarity, guidance and motivation to your life. It helps you to have an idea of where you’re going and what to do in order to get there. In goal-setting theory, the idea is that setting a goal and identifying your desired future state then creates a mismatch with your current situation and inspires you to take action to reach the desired future state.
If you’ve experienced a lot of difficulties in life or you’re in recovery after struggling with mental health issues, then setting smaller daily goals can be a helpful way to start bringing in a sense of routine, purpose and motivation into your daily life. These can be basic self-care goals such as drinking enough water throughout the day (approximately 90oz), getting 8 hours of sleep or getting 30 minutes of fresh air.
As you start to feel more energised and able to take on more, the scope of your goals will expand and concern experiences such as career progress, furthering your education, taking up new hobbies or ventures, or personal development, as well as financial and lifestyle goals.
For many, knowing what you truly want to achieve is the first step. It’s not always easy to figure out what will bring you personal happiness and fulfilment, as it may not always be the norm or convention.
For example, you may discover that going to live off-grid in a converted van brings you much more joy than the mansion with a pool you always thought you wanted. Or vice versa!
Identifying what your core values are in life can be a pivotal first step in helping you figure out how you want to live your life and what it is you ultimately want out of life. What brings you joy? Which qualities do you admire in others? What kinds of experiences do you want to seek more of? These will help you to determine your shorter-term and lifetime goals.
So – now you know what you want, but you’re not sure where to start when it comes to setting the goal and making it happen…
Rather than stating the vague end goal, such as “I want more money”, it’s helpful to use a system that allows you to measure your progress and success, and keeps you motivated and on-track to achieve your goals. Enter – goal setting with SMART goals.
You’ve likely heard of SMART goals, but if not, SMART stands for:
- Realistic (or Relevant)
By making sure your goals have these properties, it clearly defines them and makes it much easier to take action towards achieving your goals.
With the SMART system, “I want more money” might become “I’m going to save up £1000 by the end of the year (December 31)”. You could also add “by putting X amount each month into my savings account”.
Your goals may be less quantifiable and have more of a focus on your wellbeing, mood and mindset. Don’t worry – you can still practice goal setting with SMART goals to help you shift your mindset and make changes towards improving your wellbeing.
What those SMART goals are exactly will depend on your unique circumstances and desires, but you can clarify them with the help of a therapist or a coach.
In my sessions with coaching clients, we use SMART targets to dig really deep and get specific with setting goals which often concern personal development, lifestyle, relationships and work. I help you to explore and identify what it is you want to change or achieve, and how to start taking action towards it in a clearly-defined, measurable and highly motivational way.
However, we don’t just set the SMART goal then forget to check in altogether. When you add Evaluate and Re-adjust – SMART becomes SMARTER.
Adding in these vital steps allows you the opportunity to assess your progress at intervals that suit you best (such as weekly or monthly), as well as to learn from any mistakes and trial-and-error, and then optimise your goal-setting moving forwards. This check-in system helps to keep you motivated and on-track towards achieving your goals, and make sure they still feel aligned.
If you feel as though you’re lacking direction, motivation or clarity in your life and would benefit from support with goal setting, book in a Discovery call with me here. This is a chance for us to have an initial chat about what you’re struggling with, and to see how I could help you go from feeling overwhelmed to having that clarity and confidence that’s currently missing.
I hope you found this post helpful – leave a comment below with your biggest takeaway!
Take care of yourself,
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