I’ve seen many posts about goal setting for 2020. Although New Years Resolutions have a low success rate, I appreciate the New Year for stimulating people to reflect on all aspects of their lives, and to become more conscious about how they want to live meaningfully for the next 12 months.
The reason why so many New Years Resolutions are unsuccessful is because setting goals is only a fraction of the process of change. It’s the first step, the easiest step, and can be meaningless if done incorrectly. The goals that people set can be unrealistic, purely outcome-based, and misaligned with the rest of their lives, making the goals short-lived before being forgotten by the time the person falls back into their day to day routines.
Here are my tips for goal setting for 2020 (And beyond):
- Set process goals over outcome goals. You are the result of your habits, so set up good habits and the rest will come. I’ve seen a lot of goals along the lines of ‘Getting top 10 in a race’ or ‘Run a faster 5k/10k/21k/42k’. As great as these goals are, these outcomes are only a reflection of consistent actions over time, and may not even be in your control. Only focusing on these goals will have no meaning in day to day life, and make them very easy to be abandoned after some time.
By planning process goals that are ACTIONABLE daily, you will be able to be accountable and intentional everyday. Process goals will put meaning towards your journey even when you are yet to achieve the outcome, which is extremely important as the journey is what really matters to an individual’s fulfilment and purpose to continue everyday.
Process goals may be: ‘Be 100% compliant to my training program’, ‘Get in 4+ runs every week’, ‘Put 100% into each session rather than just getting it done’ etc. These are the real steps to progress and success.
- Set 1-3 processes at a time. I always say… Chase 1 rabbit and you will catch it, chase 100 and you’ll catch none. At New Years, people can be very inspired to create change in all areas of their lives instantly. However, the difficulty of this can overwhelm a person, causing them to stick to none of them! Focus on 1-3 processes and if you stick to even 1, then that’s better than what you were doing yesterday and already a win. Once you have developed that process as a habit, then you can add on more processes to put your efforts towards.
- At the same time, it’s a good incentive to also set some outcome goals. With outcome goals, be sure to make them SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). Your goal should be able to be a specific set of criteria that can be recognised and ticked-off when achieved. You want to set the bar high, but also ensure it is realistic so that you can reach it by the set timeframe and stay on track.
- Check in with your goals on a regular basis. It’s far too easy to write these goals in a journal before Jan 1, then forget about it and leave it to collect dust for the rest of the year. Keep it by your bedside table or hang it up somewhere, and check in with it on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to maintain complete intention and accountability to your processes.
- Align your goals with your beliefs, values, environment and most importantly, your IDENTITY. Think of a smoker who wants to quit, but all their friends still smoke and all they can think of is how good smoking is and how much they’re missing out. In this scenario, they are not aligned with these areas of their life and are very likely to revert back to smoking. On the other hand, a smoker who becomes a runner at parkrun, and sees the change as a boost to their lifespan and energy to spend with their kids, will likely create a longer lasting change. Align yourself completely and any change or adoption of more disciplined habits will become much more permanent.
Setting your goals the right way is an extremely important step if you want to create change in your life and achieve what you set out to do. If you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org, always happy to help!