Do you have goals, or do you have wishes?
The way to tell the difference; are you actively working through a plan towards those aspirations?
In a study on Goal Setting conducted by the Harvard Business School in 1979, the graduating class was asked the following question about their life goals:
“Have you set written goals and created a plan for their attainment?”
The study would then reconnect with the students 10 years later to determine the results.
Prior to graduation, it was determined that:
• 84% of the entire class had set no goals at all
• 13% of the class had set written goals but had no concrete plans
• 3% of the class had both written goals and concrete plans
10 years later they sought out the students to see the results, here’s what they found:
• The 13% of the class that had set written goals but did not have a concrete plan; they were making twice as much as the 84% of the class that had set no goals at all
• The most impressive result was that of the 3% group, who had both written goals and a plan; this group were making ten times as much as the rest of the 97% of the class.
Whilst there is evidence to suggest these statistics aren’t 100% accurate, it communicates a pretty strong message – a long with a number of other studies on the same topic which yield similar results.
In our course, we spend some time on how to change someone’s wish into an actionable goal. The method we, and many other Fitness Professionals use is that of a SMART goal. This breaks up the goal into 5 areas, which you must clearly define. If you have a goal, and are yet to plan for it as of yet, then spend some time to through this exercise with us now:
• S – Specific: The goal must be specific. Get rid of the “get fitter”, “put on muscle” and “live healthier”… we need to first and foremost be specific with our definition of this goal. If you want to “live healthier”, what does that encompass for you? A specific weight? Maintain a specific diet or training regime? Perhaps a whole range of factors? Write down your specific goal.
• M – Measurable: It must be something you can measure. How can you measure your health? Most people just go subjective feel, but we need to dig a little deeper. Perhaps getting your minerals or bloodwork tested, or how many healthy meals you eat a week – we need to think about an objective, measurable value we can assign to this goal. Another example “get fitter” can turn into “take 20seconds off my best 1km run” – we assigned the measure of time.
• A – Attainable: It must be something you can reasonably achieve. I believe this to be the hardest area to define. You need to be motivated, passionate and optimistic about your goals – but at the same time it is important to remain grounded. Ultimately, you know you best. An example of a goal that is potentially unattainable is a 100m time of under 9:30s, or a 3:50min mile etc.
• R – Relevant: Make sure the goal is worthwhile and meets your needs, desires and expectations for the future. Ensure this goal you’ve set fits where you want to be in the future – if there is a disconnect here, we’ll see a decreased chance of the goal coming into fruition.
• T – Timely: Make sure to include a time-limit on your goal. When do you think you can achieve this goal by? Christmas? New Year? Or in 2 years? Ensure you give yourself enough time to reach this goal, however, don’t make it so long that you give yourself an excuse to slack off!
Hopefully you’ve taken some time to go through this exercise if you’ve never done it before. But I want to add one more step that will keep you on track:
Break it down.
Create smaller goals that fit inside your big picture. For example;
- Ultimate Goal: “My goal is to run 5km in under 25minutes by Christmas”
- Short term goal 1: “My goal is to run 5km in under 27minutes by November 1st“
- Short term goal 2: “My goal is to run 5km in under 29minutes by October 1st“
Add some rewards to keep you on the right path, tell some like-0minded people about your goal, chuck the goal up on your fridge or in your bedroom somewhere, keep some memento’s or reminders about your goal and change your mindset from MOTIVATED to DEDICATED.
Out with the “wishes”, in with the “goals”!
Now make it happen.