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Creating Goals: Goal-Setting Strategies for Leaders

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Goal-Setting is Not for Sissies!

If you have prioritized 3 areas or values in your life, you are ready to set your goals. Three is an ideal number, as more than that can disperse your focus and concentration. You should be prepared to spend time, money and energy on achieving these goals. Remember, goal setting is not for sissies! It requires sacrifice. You have to really want to achieve them and be willing to say “no” to distractions.

At this point you’re ready to cast those ideas into the form of a SMART goal. A SMART goal is:
S—specific
M—measurable
A—attainable
R—realistic
T—time framed

1. Be specific when you write down a goal. Narrow your focus. “Getting fit” is not a goal, but an outcome. “Exercising regularly” is not specific enough. Write down things like, “Ride bike 40 minutes four times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday).” Start small and start specific. You can always expand goals as you make progress.

Don’t try to be all inclusive. Focus on making progress on two or three goals before expanding them. The more you can refine and define, the more specific you are, the easier it is to stay focused. Don’t forget to ask for the help of your coach. Your coach can send you email reminders and hold you accountable.

2. Write down your goals and their measures. You will need to track the minutes, the days or the number of times you engage in your goal behavior. If you don’t complete the originally defined time or measure, write down the minutes you did complete. This will track your efforts and help sustain you when you lack energy or motivation.

3. Make sure the goal you write down is attainable and realistic. If you know that 40 minutes on the bike will exhaust you, or create stress because of the time involved in showering, changing, or other inconveniences, then change the goal to something easier and more attainable.

Make sure your goal is something you like to do. When you create pleasurable memories when you are engaged in the activity, then you increase your chances of doing it more often. If running on a treadmill makes you think of sweat and dread, then think about the fun you have when you run outdoors with a friend. One person reads books on a stationery bike, and the memory of reading a good story is associated with exercising. Some people find it useful to reward themselves after goal activity, as long as the reward doesn’t sabotage.

“No pain, no gain” is true in many areas of goal setting. Remember, if there is too much pain, you will not gain your goal. Make sure you are willing to pay the price of achieving your goal.

By the same token, you need to evaluate and review your goals so that they are not too easy. If you are well on your way to achieving your goals, then you may have set them too low. Try stretching them 10 or 20 percent. If you are not on track, give yourself permission to reduce them by 10 percent. You should review them regularly with your coach and look at issues of alignment with your values. If you are not achieving your goals, you may have picked the wrong goals. People usually do what they want to do, and if you are choosing not to follow your goals, there is a reason that needs to be explored with your coach.

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