Goal-setting is a subject that I feel I have become intimate with while studying sport and exercise psychology. I not only learned about it in class, I actually taught strategies for effective goal-setting to my college students and the teenagers participating in the research study that I will be using for my thesis.
With New Year’s Eve quickly approaching I’m sure that many of you will be (or already have been) brainstorming your resolutions for 2013. I know I sure am. Last year, I came up with a laundry list of goals (some I met, some I didn’t). This year, I want to be certain when I publish my 2013 goal list, that I have put plenty of thought into my goals.
Most of us are familiar with the acronym S.M.A.R.T. I do want to mention it because it is a great starting point when evaluating your goals, but I’ll try not to insult your intelligence.
S-Is your goal SPECIFIC? Goals that are very vague and general are difficult to work towards.
M– Is your goal MEASURABLE? A quality goal is one where you are able to track your progress.
A– What ACTIONS are you going to take to achieve your goal?
R– Is your goal REALISTIC for long term maintenance? We can all make dramatic changes for a limited period of time, but if your goal is long term you want be sure that you will be able to maintain those changes for an extended period.
T- Does your goal have a short-term and long-term TIME FRAME?
In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of a quality goal is not included in the S.M.A.R.T. acronym… How IMPORTANT is your goal to you? An analogy that my mentor uses every time he talks about goal-setting (and I mean Every. Single. Time.) is, “Think about when you were in high school and you were almost ready to get your driver’s license. Remember how excited you were? When you thought about being able to drive yourself, didn’t the hair on the back of your neck stand up?” A goal should have the same effect. Ask yourself, “On a scale from 1-10, how important is your goal to you?” If you did not answer at least an 8, then chances are it’s not all that important. Why waste your time trying to achieve something that doesn’t excite you? Chances are you won’t.
The same 1-10 scale can be used to evaluate how confident you are that you will be able to achieve your goal. Eight is the magic number here too. Remember, if you find that your goal is either too difficult, or too easy, then you always have the option to reevaluate it.
I know that people are in a goal-setting frenzy, and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement. I hope that these tips can help you to set meaningful, quality goals for yourself that lead to a successful 2013.