Setting goals seems to be something that people either love or hate. You might be a person who gets excited about setting and working toward goals, or maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum and avoid goals at all costs. Wherever you are in the love-hate relationship with goals, keep reading as there’s something in this post that will likely be meaningful to you.
Do you dislike or even hate goals?
I want to start out with those of you who hate (or very much dislike) goals. I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years on goals and people tend to dislike them for a few reasons. Do any of these resonate?
- You’ve always been given your goals
- You associate goals with a time in your life that wasn’t enjoyable
- You’ve set goals in the past and didn’t accomplish them (One study said 92% of people who set resolutions didn’t reach them. What’s not to like about goals if you can’t get there).
- You’ve set goals and the forgotten about them so they seem pointless
- You feel stressed when you’re working on a goal
Guess what? You’re probably setting (and accomplishing) goals
Regardless of your reason(s) for disliking goals, I have a secret for you: chances are you actually are setting (and accomplishing) goals on a regular basis. Seriously! You probably just don’t call them goals. For example:
- Decide to get out of the house on time today? That’s a goal.
- Want to fit back into that dress you wore last year? That’s a goal too.
- Think your kids need to eat more vegetables? Guess what- also a goal.
You probably get the idea- even when we don’t call them goals, we’re setting them left and right. We’re probably calling them things like decisions, plans or ideas, but they really are goals. I don’t say this to stress you out but to help you see that goals aren’t that bad. And with the ideas below, you can get even stronger with how you approach these types of situations in the future.
I personally don’t set a lot of “goals” but I do have a lot of plans and ideas. Then I decide how I’ll follow through with them. This is essentially goal-setting and there are some key ideas that can help us get stronger at it, no matter what we call the process. So, throw away the goal-setting label if you just don’t like it, and think about applying these ideas.
3 Essential Rules for Accomplishing Goals
- Long-term goals can be accomplished by setting short-term goals. When we have a bigger picture idea we want to work toward, whether that’s going back to school for your degree, decluttering your house, or saving for your kids’ college education, those are our long-term goals. They can be big, inspiring, or possibly scary. We need to break those down into manageable chunks by setting short-term goals. Short-term goals are like the steps on a staircase that get you to the long-term goal at the top.
- Create strategies to reach each short-term goal. It’s not enough to come up with the short-term goals, but we need to plan out how we’ll get there. If the big plan is to have a decluttered house, short-term goals could be to declutter each room. That’s great, but that’s still many big projects. Come up with strategies and daily goals (or tasks if you don’t like “goals”) to help you accomplish the short-term goal.
- What can you do to accomplish these outcome goals? You don’t have to avoid outcome goals, but instead, understand about performance goals. These are goals that you set based on previous performance. From the above examples, performance goals would include: improving your technique in sport, finishing all assignments early and giving more effort at work, and always giving a vegetable options at each meal (no matter if it gets eaten or not). These are goals we have much more control over. When you set performance goals well, you often give yourself the best chance of reaching the desired outcome. And if you don’t reach the outcome you can hopefully feel good about the performance goals you did accomplish, as well as see where you may need to continue to focus your efforts.Not all goals are the same. There are many different types of goals but the two I’ve found are most important to talk about are called outcome goals and performance goals. An outcome goal has to do with the result or outcome. If you played sport, these are the goals like winning or getting a certain place; in the workforce, this might be getting a promotion, and at home, this is getting your child to eat vegetables. In all of these examples, you don’t have complete control over the outcome. Outcome goals are often big and exciting but it can also be heartbreaking and upsetting when we don’t get there.
When it comes to life as a mom, we want to be careful of the goals that we’re setting as we may be setting ourselves up for frustration. Maybe I want to accomplish more during the day. That’s a great goal but my kids make that pretty hard. It’s not very specific, and if I don’t come up with great strategies to help me accomplish that, I probably won’t be any more productive than usual.
If I have a goal to clean out my kids’ closet, I probably need to break that down into smaller, short-term chunks so it’s less overwhelming. Again, you don’t have to call these goals, but keeping these ideas in mind can help you accomplish more and stay motivated and focused along the way.
Also keep in mind that these ideas can be passed along to our kids and family members. We can teach them how to apply goal-setting strategies which will be useful throughout life. This is especially important if you fall into the goal-hater category: you can help your kids learn ideas that might help them to see goal-setting as fun, motivating and pretty awesome because they actually help you achieve what you want to. We can teach our kids to enjoy setting and accomplishing goals.
So, wherever you are on the love-hate spectrum of goal setting, think about the types of goals that you set and focus on the ones you have control over. Also be sure to think about what you want long-term (whatever time frame that means to you), but then break it down into short-term goals. From there, think about what you can do to make those happen! Honestly, it’s probably a lot of what you’re already doing, but fine-tuning even a little bit can make a big difference in accomplishing a goal!
Let us know- what’s a goal you’re working on and how are you going to make it happen?