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Talking G.O.A.L.s

It seems everywhere you turn these days people are talking about goals… Personal, professional, fitness, wellness… the list goes on and on. How to set goals, work towards them, and achieve them. And why we fail in our attempts to reach them. And now I’m going to add my own take to the discussion. I hope you find something useful in it for yourself!

A goal-setting framework that works

SMART goals were first presented by management consultant George T. Doran in 1981. In the years since this method for goal setting has continued to enjoy popularity, and for good reason. Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive provide concrete, tangible results to strive for. They force us to define what success looks like (both in substance and in time-to-achieve) and to determine what is realistic versus pie-in-the-sky.

Here’s an example… Setting a goal to “lose weight” is much different than the goal to lose 2 pounds per week for 12 weeks. See the difference? “Losing weight” as a goal is ethereal. How do you know when you’ve been successful? Next week? Next year? And what will success look like – 1 pound, 1 dress size? On the other hand, setting a goal to “lose 2 pounds per week for 12 weeks, starting on January 1” is much more concrete. How much are you going to lose? 24 pounds. How long should it take? 12 weeks. How will you know you’ve been successful? If you’re 24 pounds lighter on April 1…well then you know you’ve reached your goal.

Goals that matter

So, now armed with the knowledge of how to frame your goals in order to give yourself the best chance of achieving them, how will you determine which goals to set? Obviously, people don’t set goals just to set them. There has to be a reason why. The goals you choose should move you toward your ultimate destination, whatever that may be. Let’s look at how to choose G.O.A.L.s that move you toward maximizing your personal and professional potential!

I invite you to consider the following complimentary framework for choosing goals that matter:

G – Identify a GROWTH opportunity that will move you toward realizing your maximum potential

O – What OBSTACLES are standing in your way, blocking your path forward?

A – Identify the ACTION steps necessary to overcome those obstacles and an ACCOUNTABILITY partner to keep you on task.

L – Visualize how your LIFE will be different once you successfully achieve your goal? Return to that visualization whenever you feel tempted to give up or give in.

Here’s how a client of mine, “Sheila,” used this goal-choosing method recently (used with permission):

G – Identified earning an MBA as a goal that will move me toward my maximum potential as a business professional.

O – The obstacles in my way are 1) time and 2) money

A – In order to overcome these obstacles, I need to discuss the decision to return to school with my family and get their buy-in and understanding that this will be a temporary, 2-year process, and will position me to move forward in my career, which will ultimately lead to a better life for me and my family, and I am working with my employer to secure a tuition benefit that will pay for the majority of the cost to complete the program. A teammate at work has agreed to be my accountability partner.

L – How will life be different? Life will be different because I will have earned the credential necessary to be considered for higher-level positions in my current organization or another one. I imagine that this will ultimately lead to an increase in annual salary, which will benefit my family. I will be able to set aside funds for my daughter to use when she goes to college. We will be able to take family vacations that we currently choose to forgo in favor of saving. We will be able to save additional money towards the purchase of a new house.

In these increasingly hectic times, our time and effort are at a precious premium. In order to maintain momentum, it’s important to ensure that the goals you choose are aligned with your ultimate destination. I hope you’ll give this method of “goal choosing” a try. If you do, let me know how it goes. If you're feeling like you could use a partner, teammate, or "co-conspirator" on your journey toward the life you want to live, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary discovery session to learn how coaching can work for you!

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