Like many of us, the first few days of the year are a sacred time where I ambitiously set out all the new year resolutions and goals that I want to achieve. For a long time, I was in a vicious cycle of; set goals.do not achieve.refine.reset.do not achieve… You get where I am going on this. I just couldn’t get my big break on how to set goals and crush them.
Wanting so many things to happen in my life and not getting a breakthrough, I couldn’t figure out where I was going wrong. I had my aha moment two years ago when I started being more intentional about what exactly it is that I want to achieve.
What I did
So for example, instead of just putting down a goal such as “get a promotion at work”, I broke it down into
- why this goal is important
- what value it speaks to
- how exactly will I achieve this goal
- how I will celebrate my win
Of course, this exercise has been much more difficult and time-consuming to do than the previous one-line statements I would repeatedly write at the start of each year, it has definitely been rewarding. This article by HBR also explains the importance of aligning your goals to the things that you actually care about – it will make the work and effort needed to achieve them, much easier to do.
As I mentioned on my Instagram post, this is the exercise I did to reach my goals of
- landing my 6-figure job
- being an employer of women with potential through my side hustle & sustaining the business with no capital from anyone
- reaching my savings target for the year
- organising one of the largest professional events in the region
I did this ALL while I had a high-risk twin pregnancy, and was out of work for almost a month! I am not trying to brag on my achievements, but I want other like-minded women to achieve over and beyond what they think they are capable of achieving. And I can tell you for sure that this exercise has helped me to do that. It is not rocket science. You can set goals and crush them if:
- you have a systematized way of doing it, and
- if you are willing to put in the work/effort to actually achieve them.
Let me break it down a little more for you:
Clarity on your why
On the days that you are not motivated, your WHY is what will keep you going. If you don’t know why you want to achieve a goal, or if the reason behind it is not strong enough, then you might easily give up when the going gets tough.
Is the goal linked to your values?
It’s so easy to feel pressured into wanting what the next person has achieved. But is it the right thing for you? Does it resonate with your values? Is this goal leading you on the right path where you should be at this very point in your life?
These are all tough, but necessary questions to make the goal setting exercise worthwhile.
How exactly will I achieve this goal?
Instead of asking yourself if your goal is realistic, ask yourself how you will achieve this goal.
Break the goal down into bite-size pieces, so that you can assess how long each milestone will take. This way, you won’t just be putting an action plan in place, you will also be putting a realistic deadline to your goal.
However, you should have mini-deadlines for the milestones that culminate towards the final goal. Sometimes a milestone is a goal in itself. So don’t always look to achieving your big goals as a measure of how well you are doing. Progress is progress, celebrate the small wins so that you can get closer to the big ones!
How will I reward myself when I achieve this goal?
It seems counter intuitive to reward yourself, but it definitely works! Whenever you reach a milestone, not only should you celebrate this achievement, but you should also reward yourself for doing so. For each goal, write down one way in which you can reward yourself, whether it’s a small gift, a holiday, or even a self-care activity that you don’t do often – like a full day at the spa!
The good old SMART system
You probably heard of SMART goals in primary/elementary school, but maybe you haven’t found this approach useful. The SMART goal approach can be very powerful if you are applying it to the right set of goals. So first get your priorities right, and then setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based goals will be a walk in the park.
If you are ready to take your goal setting to the next level, download a FREE goal plan and checklist template to get you started below! You too can set goals and crush them, every, single, time.
If you haven’t as yet, also check this post where I talk about being accountable to a goal plan once you have committed yourself to it.