The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
In the field of life coaching, learning how to set goals is the starting point for a purposeful life. I guess that makes sense. Setting goals does give our life direction (purpose) and when achieved, they help us to build confidence and motivation. Unfortunately, not every goal is created equally. For years, my weight loss goal has been precisely that – losing weight. Looking back, I can’t believe I would create such an obscure, undefined goal. No wonder I have been unsuccessful! The second tip that Michael Linenberger offers is the need to create goals that we have direct control over. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” say “I’m going to eat two out of three heathy meals per day.” I cannot directly remove body weight, but I can control what food I put into my mouth. Also, it’s important to add smaller goals to the large goal so that I can take specific actions towards the larger goal. If the large goal is to eat two out of three healthy meals per day, the smaller goals could include having pre-planned and ready-made healthy meals easily available each day. This would then breakdown into even smaller action goals like creating a grocery list and setting a time to meal prep. Since I’m a visual person, I prefer to write my goals in outline and/or visual mapping form. It would look something like this:
Another important aspect of goal-setting is to make it SMART! If the goal is not SMART, then the chance of achieving it is minimal which would not be a smart thing to do (he he). SMART is a goal-setting acronym that means: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based. SMART goals provide the structure for building the overall end goal. In essence, individual SMART goals are like the bricks that build the house. The more secure the brick is, the less chance the house has of crumbling. It is worth the time and energy to create strong SMART goals.
My first SMART goal is to lie the foundation for my descriptive, experiential vision statement:
“I once walked in darkness, but now I have light from the Lord. Under a rainbow of color, I run with a spring in my step, free from pain. I have abundant energy and a smile on my face. I am free to live and give and love myself and others. I am a child of God.”
Therefore, my first goal is combine God’s Word with my need to live light (free from the weights and burdens of this world), and in the light (under the direction of the Holy Spirit).
Here is my SMART goal:
“By Friday, December 1st (time-based and entered into my calendar), I will have written one daily blog per day (measurable, achievable and realistic) about overcoming food addiction (specific) which is grounded in God’s Word (more specific and personally-oriented).”
On *Sunday, December 3rd (which I have also entered into my calendar), I will read through my blog entries to examine whether or not I have achieved my SMART goal. I know I will meet my SMART goal because it is intrinsically motivating to me, and time-centered. It’s a natural extension of who I am and where I am at in the stages of change (preparation/determination). I have not set the goal too high by actually focusing on my food choices yet, which is what I normally do. I know I am not ready to begin big changes to my diet. I am still gathering information and building routine. This is where I need to be as I ready my heart and mind for the work stage of saying no to sugar.
*When deciding time-sensitive deadlines, it’s imperative to look at your calendar ahead of time. I initially set my reflection time for Saturday, December 2nd, and then I remembered that I will be at Dr. Leaf’s Perfect You Conference on that day. It would be too difficult to squeeze in a proper reflection on that day, so I decided to go with Sunday.