Setting Goals
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Setting Goals

Setting goals on Catching Fireworks blog by Deborah Henry-Pollard

Following on from my last blog about Visioning, once you have your vision, you need to put in practical steps to move that vision into reality.   

 In 1953, a group of Yale graduates were asked if they had set life goals.  Only 3% had.  20 years later, the same group of graduates were surveyed again and the 3% who had set goals were richer than the other 97% combined.  Even if your goal is not money, this still shows the power of setting and working with goals.   

Goals are incredibly valuable for keeping you on track, keeping you motivated and making your vision seem possible.  If you have made your vision lovely and big, it can be really inspiring – and a little bit off putting as well?  Like it might not be possible?   

Well, yes, it probably is true that you can’t achieve your entire vision by next week – but what small goal can you set yourself which is achievable, moves you forward and gives you a chance to pat yourself on the back?  Remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.   

You may have heard of SMART goals:  Specific; Measurable; Actions; Realistic; Timed   

Your vision is your overall goal, which could be, for instance, to have a successful business.  “To have a successful business” could mean anything – success to one person could be earning enough money to have a decent living, while to someone else it is to sell the business on for £1million.  You could end up having a successful business running a pub which is fine, unless what you really want to run a gallery.  So you need to think of exactly what you want, and the goal would become, for example:

“I will run an art gallery which I will sell for £1million in five years.”   

This is a SMART goal because it is:   

Specific - “I will run an art gallery which I will sell for £1million in five years”.  
No-one is in any doubt about what is going to happen and when.  
    Measurable: “£1 million in five years”.  You need to be able to measure your goals so that you know how you are doing and when you have achieved it.  It will create a focus and a pull and make the goal meaningful.  Having a goal like, for example, “I will lose weight” is not powerful.  You could stop eating for one day and lose a pound – that has achieved the goal, but is not really powerful if you want to lose 10 pounds.   

    Action: “I will run”.  It is active and not just trusting to fate (like “I will win the lottery”, where you can only buy a ticket and the rest is up to the vagaries of the machines)   

    Realistic:It is realistic because of the time frame, but at the same time also has a level of stretch in it, which gives the opportunity to learn and develop, but once broken down into next steps, can still seem possible.   

    Timed: -“five years”.  Your goal can be any length you want.  You might want it to be to fit in with a significant birthday (those ones with the zeros after then, for instance) or when the children go to college, etc.  Even if 5 years, for example, seems a long time away, it will soon come around and if you don’t set a goal, when the time comes, you might find you haven’t done anything to move you forward.  Putting timelines makes the goal seem possible and if you have a big goal, setting small weekly goals can move you forward step by step.

    Goals can be built into your vision for different time scales and these can be worked backwards.  By looking at where you want to be ultimately you can then look at where you want to be in 5 years, 3 years, 12 months.  You can also have quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals, all the time breaking the visions down to manageable steps.  One tiny step per week might not seem much, but it is so much better than no steps and breaking a big goal down into smaller weekly goals, and lots of little triumphs, is a great way to keep your spirits up and keep you motivated.   

    Remember goals are there to support you and move you forward, but are not there to beat yourself up with.  If you haven’t fulfilled your goal for this month, just check why – was it the right goal, was it some other circumstance, did something else happen which was actually better?   

    What is your goal for next week?   

    If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you, check out how we could work together and get in touch.

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