Stuck on Goal Setting?

Shawnee Love   •  
December 30, 2016

I have shared the SMART goal setting method in the past, and I stand by this method for its simplicity and clarity.  However, the fact is, you have to know what you want to accomplish before you can write it SMARTly.

So here are 3 simple ways for figuring out what the heck you want to do:Quote:" Start now" on aerial view of shoe on road

50 Before 50– This is something I have done for myself.  You could do a 40 before 40, etc.  It’s the equivalent of a bucket list with a predictable deadline and is basically just a list of things you want to do before you turn that age.  As for what can go on the list, the sky’s the limit. I have baking bread (now accomplished), trying out luging, and even climbing Macchu Pichu (a stretch for sure!).  50 is a lot of things and at first I found it hard to come up with 10, but I started paying attention whenever I said “I’d like to do that” and low and behold must list took shape.

Mind Mapping- This one’s for the more visual types.  You basically get a big whiteboard, poster board, or flipchart (one page per category) and draw a life category in the center of each page.  Sample categories I use are:

  • Personal Life
  • Career/ Work / Education
  • Community/ Social / Friendships

If Personal Life is the center of my whiteboard I would draw out branches for Health, Fitness, Financial, Love, Family, Travel, Home, Spiritual, and Fun.  You want to really make it visual, add in pictures and color coding and then let your mind wander and jot down what bubbles up for you regarding what else you’d like to do within each of these branches.  I add in my own spin in that I do a rating of how I feel today about where I am at the base of each of those branches.  Not being much of an artist, I keep it simple and basically draw one of 3 emoji’s- happy face (that’s me feeling good with where I am, only maintenance required), sad face (not so good, must be a high priority for the upcoming year), meh face (also needs work for the next year).  On my happy branches, I add branches showing what is making me happy in that area.  On my sad and meh branches, I map out (branch out) the things that would improve those areas.  Once I run out of ideas, I look at the whole picture and pick a few which if I achieved them would have the greatest impact in my life.  I then map out what is needed to achieve them.  I also look for connections between branches because I love accomplishing multiple objectives with the same actions.

Write your Obituary– Sounds morbid but stick with me.  The idea is to put yourself in the future and think about what you want people to say about you and remember you for after you are gone.  Write it out just like you’d want it read at your funeral or published in the paper.  Once done, go through and pick out all the things you have yet to do.  Prioritize and build action steps to achieve your top 3 priorities and you have the makings of your ideal life.

No matter which tool you use, once you know what you want to do, write those goals out SMARTly, build action plans, and then tell others! We know from the goals research by Dr. Gail Matthews that these steps increase the likelihood that you will beat the odds and accomplish your goals by more than 70%!

I’d wish you good luck, but with these tools, you have all you need.  Instead, I will wish you a Happy New Year!