Goal Setting and Goal Sharing
Over the last two years, I have set myself resolutions and shared them right here on my corner of the web. By doing this, I believed I was holding myself accountable. Almost like I was screaming "I'm telling the world so I can't back track!" from a virtual rooftop... But have I actually been setting myself up to fail?
Every New Year brims with possibility and wonder. As I settle down to pen my goals, I embody the feelings of awe and hope that come hand in hand with planning for a better life. The same emotions I experience when drafting a holiday itinerary, or when I dream about all the projects I will (definitely not have time to) complete in a week off. This is human. We all want the best.
Yet, through making these grand proposals, I already start to feel a certain level of fulfilment. Then when I share these goals frequently on or offline, this increases tenfold. Rather than feel accountable, I sense some form of achievement. It is as though the time it took me create the goals, go through the process of putting them together in a post, and then the act of sharing them, equates to me taking a H U G E leap towards their completion.
Soooo, then what happens? Well, from experience, that false attainment of progress eases me into leaving resolutions on the back-burner. Until it reaches December and I begin to recall the things I was totally going to do that year...
And so with the above in mind, and as an alternative to sharing my goals, this year I am going to share some tips for goal setting instead. Here goes!
Clear and Concise
I am guilty of setting loose goals. Despite being from a place of good intention, whether it be "Start running", "Drink more water", or "Make plans to see friends" these are all unhelpful in their structure.
This is because they do not have a determined point of success. I could go for a single five minute run, drink five glasses of water for seven days in a row, and arrange to meet with friends once, and technically I've completed all my goals.
As goals should be seen as guidelines, setting clear and concise ones such as "Run 3K", "Drink five glasses of water a day for a year" and "Meet up with friends once a week, every week" will bring far more substantial and satisfying results. Through creating a focused and tangible outcome, you give yourself something to strive for... Not try once and forget about. (We've all been there!)
Three is the Magic Number
It is so very tempting to set a vast array of goals; especially if you deem some to be 'big' and others 'small'. The most vital part to keep in mind is that all will require time, repeated practice and dedication to complete - no matter their size.
Remember that goals are meant for self growth, not tools to incite self criticism. To avoid spreading yourself thinly, wearing yourself out, or becoming dissuaded altogether, put your energy into achieving three clear and concise goals at the most. This way you are likely to have enough time to work on them, do other things, and go with the flow of life in general.
Whilst your goals are important, having time to spend on other activities, hobbies or with the people you love is just as important. By creating time for work and leisure, you make opportunities to progress and to reenergise.
Okay, okay. I KNOW I just gave you the whole spiel on why I won't be sharing my goals this year, but teamwork makes the dream work. However, in lieu of simply sharing your goals with e v e r y o n e, choose one person or a select few to become your accountability allies.
Allies work together. After sharing your goals, help one another come up with plans to achieve them. Arrange check-in's to reflect, problem solve and encourage each other. Meet face to face or via Skype weekly, biweekly, or monthly depending on what suits you both.
Long gone are the days spent throwing your goals out into the void, and hoping they stick somewhere along the way. Having one-to-one sessions will make you feel more involved, and for the overall experience to become more enjoyable. Knowing someone has your back can make all the difference.
What helps you set and keep goals?