Without a goal you're adrift in the world and the problem with this is you can wind up living someone else's hopes and dreams. You may work hard, put a lot of energy into life but begin to feel like you're not getting anywhere that's meaningful. Reflecting on where you want to go, how you want to live and work or what you want to achieve can be the foundation of formal goal setting. You wouldn't set out sailing without a destination in mind, a compass telling you how to get there and a map to charter your course.
In coaching we use SMART goals as the framework for goal setting. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time framed. By writing your goals down in a journal make them more tangible and get them out of your head where you can reflect on the steps. The next part involves planning the actions steps to help you realise the goal.
Who sets goals and why?
All kinds of people set goals including students, athletes, business people, parents and organisational leaders. Having a goal can give you a long-term vision to work toward and short term motivation to get things done. It guides your learning, focusses your energy with intention and gives you a process. Setting smart goals is a process to organise your resources, learning and development around a meaningful intention. By making them clear and well defined you can then measure your progress and take pride in your accomplishments. Once you start achieving goals you will also notice your confidence and self belief increases because you made things you care about happen!
What's the best way for setting goals?
Begin by contemplating what you want your BIG PICTURE to look like. This might be your 10 year vision. How do you want your life and work to look in ten years from now. Identify any large scale goals you might want to achieve like; buying a country house, starting your own not for profit or getting married in Hawaii with 10 of your closest friends!
You may reflect on what you want through practicing a meditation where you focus your attention inward think about different aspects of your life like relationships, wellness, career, leadership, business, lifestyle or education. It's also wise to focus on your skills, strengths and talents and also the ones you want to develop and the experiences you would to have on the way.
Then start breaking down your 10 year stretch goal into smaller goals you must reach in yearly timeframes. And then smaller again into monthly goals.
Smaller goals can also be achieved with one, three or six month plans. Ideally these smaller goals connect to the larger vision for your life. Daily to-do-lists or apps like Todoist are great to staying on track with tasks. You can also use your smaller goals in service of your big vision goals with researching books, video's and skilling up on the things you'll need to progress.
Why get a coach to help with goals?
Getting a coach to help you achieve your goals can help fast track but it can also help you maximise your potential and give you a supportive space for reflection and insight. When we train as coaches we're taught tools and techniques to guide our clients toward greater self-awareness, listening skills to know how to ask the right questions to deepen insights and structural skills to organise the clients wants into goals and strategies that get results. We also train in holding our clients in positive regard, developing their strengths and talents and we look for their best self while gently helping them identify their barriers and then guiding them toward overcoming them. Coaching is not for everyone but those who do it say the process is helpful and often transformative. It can also be a preventative measure because it increase mental health, resiliency and your resourcefulness and moves you from being well toward thriving. You can read our testimonials here.
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