5 Simple Steps to Achieve your Goals
Any challenge that you undertake will require some kind of planning to achieve your goals. I’m really sorry but it’s just the way that it is!
I’m a pretty impulsive, let’s just go for it type of person. But, my job, as a teacher has taught me that good planning really does make a difference when it comes to the final outcome.
Much as I hate it and attempt to rebel against it, I promise it really does make a difference!
Keep reading for my 5 Simple Steps to Achieve your Goals…
1. Set an Achievable Goal
No shit Sherlock!! This is one of those statements that are so obvious you wonder why it’s being said! I think that it’s probably better to address the question: How do I set an achievable goal?
Now, there are all kinds of theories about how to set achievable goals, that you should make them small, manageable, time specific, you should set SMART goals… etc, etc… So seriously? Where the hell are you supposed to start?!
The thing is that, it really is different for everyone. Planning needs to be personalised. Ultimately you need to find a strategy that works for you as an individual.
My advice would be not to worry about getting rid of the aspects of goal setting and planning that don’t work for you. Focus on finding what does work!
Try and use aspects of all the ideas about goal setting that are out there to try and find your own, flexible way of planning that meets your specific needs.
Flexibility is key, because life is unpredictable. Rigid planning and goal setting is quite simply unachievable. Planning should be a flexible tool that supports and enables you to achieve your goals.
Once I’ve set my goal, how can I ‘plan’ to achieve it?
Personally, I think a really good way to plan for achieving your goals is to think about your goals in terms of objectives and outcomes, as this will give you much more flexibility in your planning. (Basically this is what I do when I’m planning lessons!)
Let me explain…
2. Set Objectives
Your objective is your ‘big picture’ your overall goal. It can be a huge objective or a series of smaller objectives. Up to you.. Do you need a mahoosive challenge to motivate you or smaller manageable chunks?
Me? Well I need quite a big picture, so that I can make sense of why I’m doing something. If I don’t have a much bigger end goal, then these smaller ‘manageable’ goals become meaningless to me
So, for example, one of my 5 big challenges; to be Fit by 40 is an objective in itself. My overall goal is to be ‘fit’ by the time I reach my 40th birthday in just over 2 years time.
You’ll notice that this goal is time specific, but it doesn’t have to be.
3. Identify your Outcomes
Your objective then leads to your ‘outcomes’. Your outcomes are where you identify what successfully achieving your objective looks like.
You need to be asking yourself the question… What does success look like to you?
This is really important, because only your personal gauge of success matters. No one elses!
You can have as many outcomes as you like, but I suggest somewhere between 3 and 5 is manageable. For example my outcomes for fit by 40 might look something like this:
- To have a BMI of 23.5
- To be able to complete a 5k run
- To have a waist measurement of 29 inches
- To be a comfortable size 12
- To have 25% body fat
4. Planning actions to achieve your outcomes
Once you have your outcomes you can then start to plan what actions you will take in order to achieve them.
It may be that one action will lead to achieving more than one outcome, and you will find that this is often the case. But it’s really important to be specific. It may be that there are lots of actions you need to take, but that you focus on one or two at a time.
For example; a couple of actions I might take to achieve outcome 1, a BMI of 23.5 might be to 1: Start meal planning with a daily calorie target of 1600 and 2: Use my fitbit to track activity, aiming for a minimum of 10000 steps a day.
It’s up to you. If having only a few actions doesn’t work for you then make some changes.
Remember that your planning needs to be flexible if it’s going to help you achieve your outcomes and objectives.
5. Tracking progress and rewarding success
We all need affirmation of our achievements.
Tracking your progress against your outcomes and objectives helps you to see that you are in fact making progress and you are headed in the right direction.
Studies suggest that it takes between 2-8 months to change lifestyle habits, so you might find tracking progress on a monthly basis helpful.
You might prefer weekly. You might want and end date, or leave it open ended, again choose whatever you think will work best for you.
It’s also important to reward that progress. Who doesn’t love a treat?! Make sure you allocate specific rewards for when you have achieved your outcomes and objective. Make sure you celebrate your successes!
I’m telling you… When I achieve that BMI of 23.5 I am going to be doing some serious shopping!
Remember achieving your goals isn’t about the pursuit of perfection it’s about finding your ‘good enough’. You can read about why I think ‘Good Enough’ is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself, here.