How skilled are you at setting goals? Yes, I said skilled because proper goal setting is a skill. The best goals are S.M.A.R.T. goals, and if you’re not sure what that means check out what S.M.A.R.T goals are in my blog here.
Even if you’re experienced with S.M.A.R.T. goals, there’s still something more you can do to enhance your goal setting skills and achieve more success.
The secret to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is self-awareness!
That’s right! The better you know yourself, the more likely you are to set goals, resolutions, and action plans that you can achieve.
Now, that doesn’t mean making the goals so easy that they’re always achievable. Rather, you’re able to design your goals in a way that helps you build confidence, success habits, and progress towards your overall vision.
Self-Awareness Step 1 – Reflect on these questions
- Do you feel goal setting is unimportant?
- Do you have a hard time coming up with goals in the first place?
- Does the thought of setting goals or resolutions frustrate or bother you?
- When you set goals do you struggle with coming up with a plan to achieve them?
- Do you know how to measure your progress on your goal?
- Do you end up giving up on your goals easily?
- Do you feel guilt, regret, or unhappiness about not achieving your goals?
Goals are not meant to make you feel bad about yourself! If you have any negative feelings towards your goals then most likely you’re struggling with aligning your goals properly. To do this, you need to first know your vision.
Self-Awareness Step 2 – What is your vision?
This is why self-awareness is key. Without a clear and compelling vision, you’re not working towards anything meaningful and you feel like your goals are a waste of time. Even if you achieve a goal, you’re not happy about it or don’t see the benefit of it since it didn’t help you progress.
Ask yourself: what is important to you? What things do you want more of in your life? What do you want less of? What types of things bring you joy? Where do you see yourself a year from now, 2 years from now, etc?
By getting clear on the vision of your future, you can start creating goals that align.
Self Awareness Step 3 – Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals
Now that you have a better idea of what your vision is – even if it’s only a year down the road – you can start setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.
The reason self-awareness is so critical here is because this makes the difference between whether you create a goal or plan that you can actually achieve or not.
For instance, are you being realistic with your time table? Are you focusing on things outside of your control? Do you have the tools and skills already, or do you need help?
People tend to give up on their goals more easily when they get going and realize they are unrealistic to their timeframe or skill set. Then that comes with feelings of disappointment, guilt, regret, doubt, etc.
Set your goals based on you – not what you think you should be doing or trying to compete or compare with others.
Self awareness means being honest with yourself. Do you know yourself well enough, and are you willing to admit your areas of opportunity?
Sure, sometimes it’s hard to admit things to ourselves.
But, by shifting to a growth mindset we know we are a work in progress and give ourselves grace. This helps us design S.M.A.R.T. goals that align with our vision, values and priorities.
Plus, we can then design goals that will move us closer to that vision and develop our personal and professional skills along the way.
Finally, self-awareness helps us better identify areas where we missed the mark and adjust accordingly going forward, without all the negative feelings of guilt, shame, or doubt.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important
as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar