Tag Archive for Goal Processing

5 Ways to Achieve Neglected Resolutions

The year is now half way over, and if you’re like me or the majority of people, you’ve likely given up on a few of those New Year’s Resolutions by this point.

Research tells us that, on average, only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions. But even though the year is inching towards a close, there is still time to rack up some accomplishments.

Here are five ways to do just that…

1. Understand you still have time

I’m not a hockey fan, but I love this quote by famous player, Wayne Gretzky:

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

Even if you abandoned your resolutions somewhere around February or March, there is still time to make progress towards your goals. After all, accomplishing something is better than not accomplishing anything.

2. Make a revised plan

If your goal was to get abs by summer, I hate to break it to you, but summer is just about over. The good news is, however, that you can still get those abs (or close to it), but you need an updated plan.

Take some time to reassess your resolutions and pick the most important ones. From there, turn them into S.M.A.R.T. Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound.

  • Specific: Define the What, Why, and How by writing your desired outcomes down simply and clearly.
  • Measurable: What variable can you measure to show real evidence that you’re achieving your goal?
  • Achievable: Do you have the time and skills needed to achieve this goal?
  • Results-oriented: Your goals should be about achieving a certain outcome, not doing the activities that lead to the outcome.
  • Time-bound: You need a specific due-date for yourself and, if applicable, mini-due dates to stay on track.

3. Get an accountability partner

One of the best ways to achieve a goal is to have someone by your side encouraging and motivating you. This method works even better if that person is also working on a goal of their own, and you can serve as their encourager and motivator.

4. Use tracking tools and strategies

There are a number of ways to track your goals. Whether you use a goal-tracking app like Stride, a habit tracker in your journal, or a huge wall calendar that stares at you every day, use something that will visualize and record your progress.

5. Stay motivated!

Ponder this recent Monday Motivation from TRI: “If you try, you risk failure. If you don’t, you ensure it.”

It’s easy to give up on goals, especially the really tough ones. Keep thinking about the finish line and stay focused on how you’ll feel once you’re successful.

There is still time to achieve your resolutions! Make a new plan, get a buddy, track your progress, and stay motivated towards your goals. You just might impress yourself! And when next year rolls around, you’ll be ready to take on a new set of challenges with awesome confidence.

Be A Goal Finisher

So what’s all this talk about goal setting? I know just what you’re thinking: “Hey buddy, I’ve heard about enough of this goal setting thing … I’ve got it!” But have you really got it? As I think back to all of the workshops, seminars, general sessions, and leadership events that I’ve attended, a common element of each was that at some point one of the speakers talked about the importance of setting goals. In fact, the earliest message I can remember listening to was about goal setting and its importance. What a revolutionary concept goal setting was for me at that time! I hadn’t really given much thought to setting my own goals, and prior to that first message, hadn’t heard very much about it. I was sold. Goal setting was the thing for me.

As I attended successive conferences I continued to hear about goal setting. During each message I found myself sitting in the audience thinking, I’ve heard this before. Over time I heard it again and again and again. I thought I’d heard enough until I realized one very important thing. Sure, I’d been listening to each speaker talk about setting goals and I’d taken note of their different approaches and ideas, but had I truly “gotten it”? The answer was a resounding NO. I’d listened to all of them, but I hadn’t yet taken action. I had thought about my goals and ideas and what I wanted to accomplish in life, but my goals were stuck in my head and nothing was being done to accomplish them.

The purpose of this article is it to help you avoid making the same mistakes I made early on. Sure, I was a goal setter and lots of us are, but was I a goal finisher? Not at first I wasn’t, but over time I’ve learned the value of taking the goals from my thoughts and dreams and placing them on paper and making them happen … over time I’ve become a goal finisher. So just what is a goal finisher? Quite simply, it’s the difference between success and mediocrity. (Ok, quick side bar. Mediocrity: of moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance. You don’t want Mediocrity!) Choosing to be a goal finisher will define who you are and what you eventually accomplish in life.

To help in the process of becoming a goal finisher, I’ll outline six steps anyone can take to transition from being a goal setter into a goal finisher:

1. Be specific: Make sure you set goals that are clear and specific. A goal should be indicative of what you want to accomplish and should be measurable. An example of a non-specific goal would be to say: “Do better in school.” The problem with a goal like that is trying to define it. How do you know when you’ve achieved it? Just what does “better” mean? A better goal would be: “Get a 3.5 GPA This Semester.” It’s easy to define and you know when you’ve accomplished it.

2. Take some time to plan out your goals. The best way to do this is to set aside an hour or two and go somewhere quiet where you can focus. Write down whatever goals come to your mind and then begin the process of working through them. This will help you avoid just arbitrarily setting meaningless goals. Spend some time thinking about what you want to accomplish. As you think through your goals, what they mean to you, and how they will affect you, you’ll notice that they begin to change and eventually become solid statements of what you want to accomplish in life.

3. Place your goals into an easy-to-read format and post them somewhere where you’ll see them every day (e.g. the wall in your bedroom, your bathroom mirror, on your night stand, etc.). A bulleted list can be a very useful way to lay out your goals. That way you can quickly read them when you see them. Don’t have them bunched into a paragraph or written on a post-it note. You want to have your goals written out so that they are clear to see and clear to read. This way you’ll see them, read them, and be reminded of them each day!

4. TAKE ACTION! It’s one thing to write your goals down, but don’t forget what we’ve spent the bulk of this article discussing … you must be a goal finisher and not just a goal setter. As you see your goals each day you’ll be reminded of them. Work aggressively to accomplish them. Take steps every day to get closer to accomplishing your goals. Work a little harder on your homework, spend a little extra time practicing your free throw shots, exercise a little bit more, work a little more at whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, and you’ll find yourself well on your way to becoming a goal finisher!

5. Track your progress: As you make progress on your goals take note of it and write it down. Keep track of significant milestones along your way. Write notes next to your goals indicating your achievements. When you complete goals, put a check next to them on your list, but don’t cross them out or remove them right away. Leave them there as a reminder of what you’ve accomplished and the progress you’re making. Doing this will provide momentum and give you greater confidence in your ability to achieve your goals.

6. Monitor and redirect: Schedule time every few months to re-visit your goals and to assess where you’ve been and what you’ve accomplished. It is so vital that we take time in our lives to stop and think about where we’re at. It’s kind of like a personal inventory. Identify what’s been going well and where you need improvement. During these personal inventories you may come upon new goals or possible modifications to current goals. Take note of these new ideas and write them down.

As you strive to implement these six easy steps you’ll see a big difference in your goal setting efforts. You’ll find that you move more quickly from goal setting to goal finishing and you’ll feel better about your personal progress.

Don’t forget that truly successful people don’t spend their lives waiting for things to happen to them; they take the initiative and make things happen for themselves. They identify areas in their lives where improvement is needed and they aggressively seek out ways to improve. They are not satisfied with simply being goal setters. They are committed to being goal finishers!

Goals With SMARTS… and Ear Wax

Way back when I was in third grade, our teacher did a huge activity celebrating the New Year when we got back from holiday vacation. She had us all write down on a piece of paper the thing that we were going to change (our New Year’s Resolution). She turned out the lights in the classroom, lit a candle, and one by one, invited us up to share what thing we were going to change – then we got to rip up the piece of paper and throw it in the garbage can (the next best thing to burning it, since we weren’t allowed to play with fire in the classroom).

She almost had the process of goal-setting right in doing this, but I’ll get into that a bit later.

I’ll always remember this exercise for one reason. One of my classmates got up in front of the group (you have to remember, we were in third grade and had no pride – nobody made fun of anybody else yet and life was just fun) and said that she had always stuck her finger in her ear, gathered up wax, and then eaten it. DISGUSTING. Her New Years Resolution was to never do that again. While I’m so glad she recognized this was a habit she needed to change, I will always associate New Year’s Resolutions with ear wax for the rest of my life.

Something you should know before I go any further is that I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I believe they are a sad attempt at setting a goal, done for no reason other than the fact that we now have to remember a different year when we date our checks. When you’re truly ready to make a change in your life, it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is – you’ll go through the process of setting a clear goal and figuring out how to make this goal a reality.

Growing up, I was always tall and very skinny (until recently when the weight started catching up with me…but that goal is a whole different article for some other day) and somewhat uncoordinated. But there was something I wanted more than anything in the world. I knew, from the time I was in seventh grade, that I wanted to be able to slam dunk a basketball by the time I was a sophomore in high school. I was going to accomplish this by exercising every day (especially in the off-season) – I even turned out for track to give me added motivation for daily exercise.

I also had a huge sign on my door – it had some clip art of a guy slamming a basketball, and my own handwriting with the date I wanted to be able to slam the ball by. While my sophomore year was the last year that I played basketball for completely other reasons, I did meet my goal because I kept a few things in mind when I set it.

I’m sure you’ve all heard about setting SMART goals. Every presenter/trainer has their own little swing they put on it, and I’m no exception: I actually say that your goal needs to have “SMARTS” – I added a letter and changed the meaning of a few. Here’s a quick run-down.

First, the S – make sure your goals are Specific. Figure out EXACTLY what you want to do – if you want to lose weight – how much? If you want to dunk – dunk what – someone in the pool?

The M – Measurable. You need to know, when you’ve met the goal, that you’ve met it. What is the piece that changes or that signifies excellence? Mine was being able to dunk a basketball. If yours is to lose 10 pounds, fantastic – you have your measurable piece!

The A – one of my twists that’s a bit different from others – Aggressive. Don’t set a goal that’s going to be easy – choose something that you’re going to have to push yourself to make happen.

The R – I actually have two words that go here – Realistic (goes to counteract the A – don’t make it too difficult either – there was no way in the world I could have set my goal for my 8th grade year!). The second is Recorded – WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN! Post them on your ceiling, on your door, in your car – everywhere that you’ll see them! Be constantly reminded of what the goal is!

The T – your Timeline. You have to say when the final day to accomplish your goal is. Otherwise, it’s just always your dream – but you’re never accountable for it.

My final twist – the second S. If you want to achieve excellence, you must have Support. Through my goal, my teammates all knew what I wanted to do, and they all encouraged me to make it happen. Whether you want to stop a bad habit, change your appearance, or anything else – use your support group! We all hear about how bad peer pressure can be when people are encouraging you to drink, smoke, or whatever else – what we don’t hear enough of is how incredible peer pressure can be when your friends are helping you to succeed!

My final thought to the reader – FORGET about New Year’s Resolutions – think of ear wax when you hear them. How many friends do you have who’ve made New Year’s Resolutions that are completely unplanned and end up failing? Instead of setting a New Year’s Resolution – wait for the right time and the right place to set a goal that has SMARTS!