3 Simple Steps Of Goal Setting

Over the years, I have set many, many goals.  Achieved many things that I set out to do.  It is something that has been conditioned in my heart and soul ever since being a young child.

I have set and achieved income/sales goals, athletic goals, education goals, dating goals (back before being married, of course), nutrition/weight related goals and even what time-I-am-going-to-wake-up goals.  It served me well from everything from real estate to Ironman triathlons.

There was even a phase where I gave up on goal setting, believe it or not.  A time where all I wanted to do was live in the “now” and not worry about the “next” thing or even the “last” thing, whether or not I hit my goal with amazing accuracy or fell short of the mark.  Sort of a zen approach to life, having fewer worries and just free flowing everything I did.  I did this because I had started seeing myself getting almost obsessive-compulsive about goal setting.  If I didn’t make the goal, I considered myself a “loser” or “less than” someone or something else.  I had become overly competitive and if I didn’t achieve that next goal, I seemed to lose confidence or become disappointed in myself.  Goal setting, during this time, wasn’t a healthy approach for me.  It was a season of not setting goals and being okay with just “being” me for a time.  (Especially for you moms out there, the goal of just getting out the door once a day seems even challenging – going with the flow of the baby’s schedule more of the norm!)

As in any balancing act of life, I have now come full circle and found the middle road.  You see, for me, neither extreme mentioned above really was fulfilling at the end of the day.  Either I was constantly chasing one exhausting goal after the other or I found myself complacent and bored, low in energy, drive and excitement.

Can you relate?  If so, keep reading…….

After all the ups and downs of goal setting and the opposite end of the spectrum of having “no worries”, I have put together three simple steps for myself to remember when it comes to the art of goal setting, a.k.a. fulfilling the intentions I see for my life.

1.  Be clear in your intention and make sure to set your own goals – not someone else’s. 
Be clear in your mind the purpose of the goal and how it serves you.  It’s okay to set similar goals with a friend/colleague/etc., however, remember that you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror every day and make that commitment to what you wrote down/said you want to accomplish.
I remember hearing someone state their own income goal in my real estate office one year.  I really looked up to that person and wanted to mirror my business after theirs, so I thought it made sense to have the same income goal.  At the end of the year, not only did I fail miserably at achieving that goal, my confidence took a kick in the seat as well.  I learned that we all have our own drums to beat and it doesn’t work to march to someone else’s.
You also want to make sure you follow the SMART goals methodology if you can – S stands for Specific,  M for measureable,  A for attainable,  R for risky and T for timeline (time you will complete it in).
So, if you want to lose weight, first you’ve got to pick a number.  For example, 20 pounds.   Is that attainable at 1-2 pounds a week for smart/safe/permanent weight loss?   Is it also a bit risky – will it make you get up in the morning to go after your goal – just knowing if you missed a day, you might fall off that path?   And, for the timeline, how long will it take you?  If 1-2 pounds a week is healthiest, you better make sure your goal is 10-20 weeks out in the future.

2.  Remember to remember the journey. 
(a.k.a. keep an open mind and stay connected to your self every day – even if it means changing your goal!)
There is a quote that says, “Success is about the journey, not the destination.”  Same goes for goals.  If you focus on only the end game, you may just miss some exciting milestones along the way.  Or better yet, if you are enjoying the journey and not as attached to the outcome, you won’t miss other opportunities that come along the way that will make the journey AND the outcome all that much more exciting.  In athletics I found it hard to do this for several years.  For the first few years, I was a die hard runner.  I ran every day no matter what the weather or even if I was sick.  I couldn’t miss a run because I was worried about my next goal and not achieving it.  Then I got injured for four years – what a journey that was!  My only goal was to figure out how to get back to running again.  In the meantime, I found out triathlons were more forgiving to the body and could enjoy a whole new world of opportunities with triathlon. 
NOTE:  One more thing on this step, some teachers of goals and methods of goal setting say that you CAN NOT ever change your goal, it is something that you must be committed to as you orginally intended and achieved exactly as such.  I disagree.  If you are truly keeping an open mind and staying connected to your Spirit every day, it is totally okay to course correct and change your goal.  In fact, I am all for it.  It doesn’t always have to look a certain way.  (I used to fall into this trap until I realized the power of #1 step above.)

3.  Visualize what you want daily
When I did my first Ironman Triathlon, I set a goal of completing the 140.6-mile race in 13 hours.  I saw the number 13 everywhere – in my mind, on signs, on the Internet, on my training schedule – you name it.  I lived and breathed that number.  After 9 months of visualizing and staying connected to that goal, I ended up getting strep throat the week of the race and was on complete bed rest.  No training, no working, taking antibiotics and resting.  The doctor even told me to not do the race.  I almost agreed with him and thought I wouldn’t even start the race.  HOWEVER, I kept an open mind, adjusting my outlook on finishing in 13 hours.  I didn’t stay attached to the outcome or overanalyze my illness’s ability to hinder my achievement.
Lo and behold, not only did I start the race, I finished it…..and I finished it in 12 hours 57 minutes – with a few minutes to spare.
Seeing your goal in your mind’s eye through visualization techniques or in real pictures on a wall, magazine or computer (whatever device serves you best) all work together to keep you connected and motivated to the finish line.

I hope these steps (maybe not so simple after all, eh?) helps you enjoy your journey of success! 

Feel free to share with me your, comments, successes and challenges in goal setting – we are in this together.  If there is anything I can do to serve you -in goal setting or not setting goals or both – let me know!
Yours in Transformational Success,

Lois Tiedemann Koffi
Personal Trainer, Running guru and Mom


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