Goal-setting can be a pretty daunting task, but if you want to get shit done then the first step is specifying the shit you want to get done! Setting the right kinda goals in the right way is so important for long-term success, and it doesn't have to be as confusing as you might think...
Grab a pen and paper.
Seriously, it really doesn't count unless you get it down on paper! Goals in your head are just wishes, and they are subject to change every time a new whim pops up, or when you are feeling demotivated. Writing down a goal makes it more real, and the stats on this topic are pretty interesting. A study was done on a Harvard MBA class, and they found that only 3% had written goals, 13% had goals in their minds but not written, and 84% had no goals at all. When interviewed after 10 years, the 13% who had goals which weren't written were earning on average twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all...but the 3% with written goals were earning on average 10 times the amount of the other 97% combined! So yeah, which of those groups would you want to be in? Not just financially, but think about how this would work in terms of your health and fitness, home, relationship, kids, travel...anything really. It doesn't take much to grab a pen and paper...write those buggers down (preferably in a journal), or you will be kicking yourself in the future.
Don't just jot down stuff you think sounds good, or targets your friends or family have set themselves, but have a serious think. Take your pen and paper, or journal, and go sit somewhere quiet for a half hour. Allow yourself time away from distractions, leave your phone, turn the TV off, and be on your own. Think about what you want, and WHY. If you can't really think of a good strong reason why you want to achieve something then chances are it's a whim and not a real goal. If something is just a whim, just something you kinda want rather than REALLY want, then when the going gets tough (and it will) you will quit. You will turn tail and run back to your comfort zone. So make sure you know what you really want, and why you want it. Write all of this down.
SMART is a super-common acronym in goal-setting terms, and it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. So the 'specific' part we covered in the last point, but in order for a goal to be 'measurable' it needs to have some kind of quantity attached. You want to lose weight? How much? You want to earn more? How much, exactly? You want to travel more? Where to? Some things, like relationships, are hard to quantify but do your best...even if you just rate how you feel about that area out of 10! Make sure your goals are 'achievable', even though it can be beneficial to dream big it is important to make sure you don't set yourself up to fail. These goals are going to require dedication whatever the size, so there's no point making them impossibly huge. We covered 'relevant' in the last point as well, as this is basically the 'why'...the goal has to be relevant to your life, and what you really want. Finally, make sure you whack a time-frame on the goal. Is it short-term, like 1-3 months? Medium-term, like 1-3 years? Or long-term, like 5-10 years? Make sure there is a due date on all goals!
Don't keep it all to yourself.
Sharing is caring! If you share your goals and plans you are more likely to stick to them, whether that's shouting it from the rooftops on social media, or just telling your closest friend and nobody else. Once you've told someone it will motivate you to push yourself to avoid having to justify your shortcomings at a later date. This is why people with a 'gym buddy' often get better results...as they adhere to their plan for longer! Better yet, buddy up with someone who has goals of their own and you can be accountable to each other, perhaps have a weekly or monthly check in where you give an account of your progress so far and the lessons you've learned, and where you'll be going from there.
Once you've got your goals you can determine where you currently are in more detail, then make a specific game-plan, and work like hell! But those are all topics for future blogs, for now the focus is just on making sure you know what you really want. Now GO GET IT DONE!