Use Self Interest to Fuel your Goals

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Self-improvement has fueled thousands of bestsellers, hours of podcasts and, of course, countless resolutions on New Year's Eve. Each of us has set goals, only to discard them days or weeks later. There are three phases in Goal Setting; defining the purpose itself, understanding your starting point and building an action plan to join these two points. This is the first of three blogs on how to create an attainable goal.

It takes work to craft a sustainable goal, and one useful strategy is to make sure your target is SMART. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results focused and Time Defined.  (The Balance Article has more details about SMART Goals). It makes sense to spend time on defining these features, and obviously, the goal should be specific, realistic, and have an end date, but I would like to insert an additional M. Instead of SMART, I think goals should be SMMART. I believe an essential element of SMMART Goal Setting is to make sure your goals are Meaningful to YOU. Don't waste your time setting goals that don't matter.

To reach a goal you have to change, and change is hard to sustain. Despite our best intentions, inertia slowly eats away at new behaviors, and within days most old habits creep back. That is WHY your goal has to really matter. You have to call on the allure of your goal to power through the drag of old habits.  Imagine your life after you've reached your goal in technicolor detail.  If your goal is to land a big sale and get a large commission check, think through how that money will make your daily life different. Maybe reaching the goal will bring you prestige or recognition, own that. Perhaps your boss will finally acknowledge that you're an excellent manager. Be brutally honest about what's in it for you. Imagine the new car, or being called up on stage to accept your award. See yourself receiving the promotion. Make the outcome vivid and real and then call on that every day to help overcome the pull of your old habits. Be clear about what makes this goal meaningful to YOU and use that to fuel your way through the changes you have to make. If reaching the goal doesn't excite you why bother? Set goals that matter because otherwise you're just going through the motions, and within weeks those goals will join the others in your discard pile.

Meaningful goals fill you with energy and passion and power the journey towards the endpoint.

I will discuss recognizing your starting point in my second blog of this series.

If you're interested in creating a SMMART goal for 2018, please check out the Virtual Group Coaching program starting in January.