Goals – EEKK!!

For some that word has just caused a bit of fear……. perhaps for a good reason….

Somehow over the years setting goals has become something to be frightened of. It’s something we do with reluctance or regard it as a New Year’s resolution and have quit by the middle of the January.

A goal is defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”

That’s a good thing right? Well maybe not? Anyone who has looked at setting goals would have heard this – “A goal without a plan is just a dream”.  When did dreaming become such a bad thing?

I have been setting goals for about 25 years and the way they have been set has changed quite a lot over the years. For many years I was “told” to make my goals S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based. In a nutshell, develop a plan. There are quite a few different acronyms’ that can be used but they all pretty much have the same message – develop a plan. Up to a point this kind of goal setting is valid BUT in many ways I have come to believe that it also limits our ability to achieve GREATNESS!

Just because a whole bunch of people, who seem to know what they are talking about, have said that this is the way to do it (in this case to set goals), does it always mean that it is the best way for YOU?

Way back in the year 2000 I set a S.M.A.R.T. goal to buy a unit – my own home. Things happened in my life and it never happened. Things kept happening every year for TEN years and it never happened. After a while the idea of setting this as a goal became frustrating, disappointing and downright discouraging. I’m pretty resilient, so every year the goal went on my list, until I stopped making it a S.M.A.R.T. goal and just had it there as a wish – a dream if you like. It took 10 years and when it happened it was incredibly quick and amazing! It was one of those things about being in the right place at the right time. It hadn’t been a S.M.A.R.T. goal for about 5 or 6 years. It was always a focus there in the back of my mind and finally it happened. Out of that I learnt what was most important was not that the goal was S.M.A.R.T. but that the goal was there in my mind and it was written down.

This year, for the first time, I have actually been brave enough to ask members to write their 2016 goals and not give them the well-used guidelines that as PT’s we are “told” to use. The results so far have been quite astonishing.

“Be a better friend” “Appreciate every day” “Be kinder to myself” “Be enthusiastic”

These are not S.M.A.R.T. goals – they are however an ambition, an aim and a desired result. They are written down and during the year I will remind them of their goals. At the end of the year I will hand them back to members and ask them if they achieved them. If they didn’t – well that’s ok. They can try again next year, and the year after, and the year after. If that is how they want their life to be, to look, then it’s a valid goal.

When it comes to goals it is time we changed the way we think about them.

It’s time the process stopped being scary.

It’s time to stop limiting our goals by making them S.M.A.R.T. or any other clever acronym we have been “told” to use.

It’s time we allowed our goals to be BIG and its definitely time we used goals to help us be better today than we were yesterday.

After all – that’s our main goal isn’t it? To live a great life?

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