Goals & Goal-Setting for Change

Change, as with everything else we do in life, is really all about what you believe. It’s about what you believe about yourself. It’s about how you think. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7 , “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. So think good thoughts. Think positive thoughts. Think about the person you want to become. See that person. Visualise that person. If it helps to find a photo that represents who you want to be, or what you want to have, find the photo, and put it up where you can see it. 

You are the only one who gets to create the person you want to become. The key is to start behaving like the person you want to become. Ask yourself, What would I do if I were that person? Begin to see it. Visualise it. Imagine it. You can only have what you can see. It’s about what you believe – what do you believe about yourself?

The most important way to move forward to change, is act like you’ve already achieved it. Act out the change you want and day by day it will become a reality.

The bottom line is that change is a part of life. It’s how we handle change, what we believe about change, and how we pursue change that determines how successful we are at achieving real, lasting change in our lives.

Change takes time. You’ve probably heard of the 21 days to change a habit, or 30 days to change a habit.  However, people are different and what works for one person may not work for another.  In a European study the number of days it took for people to form new habits ranged from 18 days to 254 days! That’s an average of 66 days. As a general rule of thumb then 2 or 3 months is often going to be enough time for something that you repeat daily to become a habit.  According to the study missing the habit just once in that time didn’t seem to cause trouble, but more than once did.

And that bring us to Goal-Setting.

Goals & Goal-Setting

You’ve probably heard about SMART goals, here’s an expanded version :

Specific, Significant Stretching

Measurable, Meaningful, Motivational

Agreed-Upon, Achievable, A, Attainable, Acceptable, Action-Oriented

Realistic, Relevant, Rewarding, Reasonable, Results-Oriented

Time-Based, Timely, Time-Bound, Tangible, Trackable

If you are going to set a goal for yourself it must be specific. It must be well-defined and clear. It must be measurable, you must be able to track it’s progress, measure the result, and know when it has been achieved. It has be agreed-upon and achievable. It has to be your goal, you need to agree with it, and know that you can achieve it. It also needs to be realistic. You need to have the resources, knowledge and the time, to make it happen. And it needs to be time-based, there must be a deadline. You must allow enough time to achieve the goal, but not too much that it’s too far in the future and you lose motivation and momentum.  It’s also good to set some short-term milestones along the way to encourage you to keep going.

Here are seven steps to help with setting your SMART goals :

  1. A specific goal has a much better chance of being accomplished than a general goal. Make your goal specific. For example, “I want to lose weight” is not specific enough. “I want to lose 5 kgs” is specific.
  2. Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish? Where will this happen? Identify a location. When will this happen? Establish a time frame. What hindrances could get  in the way? Identify them. Why am I setting this goal? List the specific reasons and benefits of accomplishing your goal.
  3. To make it measurable, ask questions like, How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished? What is the finish line?
  4. Track and measure your progress. Keep a worksheet you can check things off, or rate them, keep a journal – find tangible ways to track your development.
  5. Make the goal attainable. What are the restrictions, i.e. your schedule, workload, resources, do you believe in yourself that you can attain the objective you set? Ask yourself, Am I prepared to make the commitment to reach my target? Am I willing to dramatically alter or at least tweak aspects of my life? Is there a more achievable target I am willing to work for?
  6. Make the goal relevant to your life’s reality. Set a goal you have a realistic chance of achieving.
  7. Setting a deadline reinforces the seriousness of the goal in your mind. It motivates you to take action. When you don’t set a timeline, there is no internal drive to accomplish the goal, so it gets put on the back burner. Ask yourself every day, What can I do today to reach my goal? What can I do 3 weeks from now to reach my goal? What can I do 3 months from now to reach my goal?

This week’s assignment :

  • Set some SMART goals using the tools and suggestions above
  • List down the important milestones along the way to your target. You can add a reward next to each one.
  • Try making a list of people, things and general resources you’ll need to achieve your goal.
  • Use the power of visualisation. What would it feel like to taste, smell, touch your goal?
  • Remember, your goal will be attainable if you truly believe that it can be accomplished.

Have fun setting your goals this week 🙂

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