We’ve all heard how important it is to set goals, and basically every successful person ever will tell you that having goals in your career and life are vital to success, but why?
Without goals we don’t actually get to choose the direction we move in, or the person we become. We are simply the product of whatever our unconscious habits happen to be. Those habits are extremely powerful, but with the right approach we can replace them with new and better ones. We do this by creating a vision and setting goals to achieve it.
So how do we actually do that?
Start with VISION
There is no right way to create your vision, but think of it as your ideal version of yourself. Maybe you see yourself as a badass crossfitter. You stroll into the box in the freshest lulu gear, walk across the gym on your hands, throw a 250lb snatch overhead, hit a few strict muscle ups and then run a sub 6 min mile. Maybe your vision is related to work or relationships. You can have different visions for different aspects of your life or you can roll it all into one. The key is to:
- BE SPECIFIC. Truly visualize it in your mind and write the specifics down.
- DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF. This is your personal vision. It doesn’t matter if it seems impossible. The idea is to get clear on what you want, not to determine whether or not you can have it.
From VISION to LONG TERM GOALS
Use the specifics from your vision to create long term goals. A long term goal should take no less than 6 months, but no more than 3 to 5 years. If it’s not obvious to you how long you should give yourself, a 1 year time frame is a good rule of thumb.
Using the badass crossfitter example, my long term goals might include:
- 1 strict muscle up
- Sub 6 minute mile
- 100 ft handstand walk
These goals should be challenging but achievable within your chosen time frame. If your current mile time is 14 minutes, maybe your 1 year goal is sub 9. Your vision is still your vision, and in 2 or 3 years that sub 6 mile will happen if you continue to make it a focus, but we must be realistic. As you become a better goal setter (hint: set more goals, we learn by DOING) you will have a better feel for what’s reasonable. You’ll miss the mark occasionally and that’s ok. Maybe you wanted a 100 ft handstand walk but you can only do 50 ft by the end of the year. Is 100 ft still your goal, or is 50 ft pretty amazing and you want to focus on other things? Your call!
It’s a good idea to re-evaluate your long term goals every 6-12 months. Are you on track? Do you still care about this goal enough to make it a focus? If you really want something you HAVE to focus on it in your day to day. But if it’s no longer a priority to you, scratch it off the list. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
From LONG TERM goals to SHORT TERM GOALS
So your year goals are to hit a sub 9 minute mile, and drop 2 pants sizes. Now what?
Short term goals are ready and waiting to get you there! Short term can be a week or a couple of months, but a good rule of thumb is about a month.
What makes a good short term goal? It should be specific, reasonable for you to commit to, and most importantly they must be things you can control that will create positive new habits.
Long term goal: sub 9 minute mile
GOOD short term goals:
- Never skip a running WOD
- Run at least 2 times per week
BAD short term goals:
- Run a mile in less than 11 minutes (If you can’t do it this week you might get discouraged, and even if you can, this doesn’t develop any positive new habits)
- Run every day this week (there’s no need to run every day to get better, and it’s unlikely you can really commit to this)
Long term goal: drop 2 pants sizes
GOOD short term goals:
- Track your food intake every day (you can control this, and it will create a habit of mindfulness)
- Eat at least 4 different vegetables every day
- Cut your nightly glass of wine (CALM DOWN YOU DON’T HAVE TO PICK THIS ONE!)
BAD short term goals:
- Lose 5lbs in two weeks (you can’t really control this, and it will not help you create better habits)
- Eat 100% healthy (it’s not specific enough unless you’ve clearly defined “healthy”, and unlikely you can truly commit)
**if you want a major change, challenges like whole30 can work, but they require planning, dedication, and support!
Track your short term goals, plan for how you will meet them weekly, and reevaluate them monthly. Maybe the goal has created a solid habit and you don’t need it anymore. Maybe it didn’t have the right effect and you need a different goal. Maybe you CRUSHED it and you need a more challenging goal. Maybe it’s going well and you want to keep it for now. Evaluating every month will ensure that you are constantly moving forward.
We are what we repeatedly do, so succeeding at anything in life is really just a matter of clarifying your vision, creating long term goals, and setting up short term goals to create the right habits. Just make sure to have a plan to track your progress and continually reevaluate.
If you’re not sure where to begin with your short term goals, ask a coach for help. We live to help you achieve your goals!
Still trying to make fetch happen,
– Coach K