When it comes to chasing our dreams the only way I know to track our progress is to create milestones. Milestones show us what we are accomplishing and allow us to see how we accomplish even more. If you have stopped to read any of the statistics or articles on goal setting before, you will have read two things.
People without goals are not as successful as they hope to be. People who don’t write down goals are less likely to accomplish them. What I have found over the last 10 years of dream chasing is how important goals are in the grand picture of seeing your dreams come true.
Goals give us momentum to push through adversity we experience while chasing our dreams. This year, there was a huge push not to set goals. People were sharing about how terrible they felt last year when they failed to meet their goals or how they never really followed through with achieving them.
So, should we even set goals to try to see our dreams come true? YES! The problem for so many people is that they haven’t created goals which will help them succeed. And their inability to follow through because of fear or poor goal creation holds them back.
This was me about ten years ago. I would set goals at the beginning of the year, and then never go back and look at them. I would have these really vague, general ideas of things I wanted to accomplish, but never create action steps or any plans to achieve anything.
This is why goals fail. You have probably heard of the SMART goal system. This is a great system. In fact, when I finally got tired of never accomplishing my goals, I learnt about it and started to see some of my goals achieved.
And then, I learned about the “ER” in goal setting. Let’s start putting some goals together using the SMARTER System. Specific – Sounds pretty simple right? Just write something down that is specific.
The question is: how specific do I need to be? The answer: the more specific you are, the easier it will be to quantify your results along the way. For example, if you want to lose weight, to be more specific, how much weight do you want to lose? Better yet, what weight would you like to be at the end of pursuing your goal? A specific goals says this: I will weigh 200 lbs.
We want to quantify our goals. To make a goal measurable, we need to be able to see progress over time. Say your goal is to write a novel. How do we make it measurable? You will need to make it very specific and measurable by going into more detail which you can track.
A specific goal for writing a novel is: I will complete writing a 50,000 word novel. Every goal should be actionable in terms of getting somewhere. However, when writing goals, we are talking about writing it as an action.
A goal is actionable when it is immediately clear what action needs to be taken to accomplish it. A simple way to make items actionable is to begin them with a verb. So try this: I will read 24 books.
The ‘R’ in the equation is relevant or relatable. Is your goal relevant or relatable to your life? When you are setting goals, this is the pragmatic look at what you want to do. When you set a goal you need to think about your current situation.
Some people will tell you to make a ‘10X Goal,’ create a goal that is nearly impossible to force you to stretch yourself. While I think this is good, it’s not for the first timer, or for someone struggling at their goals.
You need to create goals you can accomplish at your stage in life. Are you a father of three small children who works two jobs? You may not be able to workout 3 hours a day if you want to reach 3% body fat.
Try this: I will decrease my percent body fat by 10%, my start percent is X. Every goal needs a deadline. Why? So you are forced to take action in a certain timeframe. Simply saying you will do something isn’t good enough.
You need to say when you will complete it. This way you will need to map your path to success. Otherwise, you will always have the goal but never have urgency to accomplish it. Going back to the novel example: I will write a 50,000 word novel by December 31st.
Evaluate – This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to your goals. We need to regularly evaluate our progress. When I ask people how often they looked at their goals, they say “A few times over the year.
” This is why people fail at their goals. I evaluate my goals every month and every week I read them. This helps me to remember what I am trying to do and makes sure I take action every week. If there is anything you do differently about your goals, this needs to be it.
Reward – Every goal and milestone needs a reward. We love getting something for a job well done. And when we are working towards our dreams, these little earned items help us to celebrate our milestones and be ready for the next step.
Here is an example of a reward for paying off debt: Pay off debt by December 31st. Buy one thing for $100 you would never buy for yourself. You may have really struggled with goals before. And if you’re like me, you might have even failed all of the goals you set for yourself in a year.
But this doesn’t have to be true of you anymore. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis I love this quote because it reminds me how the goals we set for ourselves now, no matter our age or station in life, will help us change our story in the end.
They will help us chase our dreams and see them come true.