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How to set goals

03 March 2020

1)      Goal select rather than goal set.

2)      Establish your system.

3)      Ensure your environment supports you to achieve.

4)      Regularly count, measure and track your process.

How to put the 4 steps into action

There are a few tricks to put the 4 steps into action and succeed for the long term.

1)      Overwhelmed the moment you think about goal setting? The tip is to eliminate the competition: focus on selection of goals rather than goal setting. Two or three main goals at most. The system for achieving those outcomes will have more steps.

2)      Establishing your system means thinking through the process driving you toward your outcome. The process or plan will probably have step by step goals – the when, where, how and how nots, for example, you need to follow to reach your main goal.

Process goals, as they are often termed, ask: how am I going to get there; what do I have to do, when and why, and, to reach my goal, what do I have to give up?

3)      What is a supportive environment and how do I make sure I have it?

Think about all the things you need to be on your side if you are to start and achieve your goals. These make up your environment and could include, people, work, the weather, mindset.

Your environment must support you if you are to begin the process, perform and achieve your outcome.

4)      Measure your success and celebrate in easy, simple steps. Counting, tracking and measuring are ways to reflect on what you are doing. It will help you understand your successes and failures and learn what works and what doesn’t. In many ways looking back over a period will help you see your progress so you can set a valid reason to celebrate. Looking forward and setting milestones is ok but if you don’t meet them it can be disheartening. As you progress and meet more and more of your goals then setting forward milestones makes sense.

Measures and tracking goals are needed to check you’re on target and achieving what you want and when. Performance goals keep you honest, but most importantly, they're great for motivation.

How to create new habits

Yoking a new habit to an old one or discarding an old habit and replacing it with a new one can help set up a daily pattern. Doing this cements habits oriented toward your final goal into your daily routine.

For example: “Before or after [a particular daily activity], I will [do the new thing].”

Why range setting is important

Set yourself a range: “I want to reach [number] by [time period] but not more than [number]. The numbers need to be sustainable, achievable and realistic and are probably going to be a minimum and a maximum. Range setting helps you aspire to do more but doesn’t leave you feeling let down if you don’t.

The tip is to start. Just getting up and being there is a win.

In the end

If you don’t have a system and the checks and balances of performance, it’s easy to see why many goal setting exercises fail to reach their outcome. To achieve outcomes you need to follow a plan. They are interdependent.

Think of the ‘outcome’ as setting your direction, while the process provides a system to get you there and the performance keeps you on track to meet the system and achieve the result you want.

Goals for the New Year might include healthy eating, weight loss and exercise. Get specific. Celebrate milestones along the way. Shift your life successfully.

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