The practice of creating goals is one that I recommend to my clients regularly. In fact, it is one of the first things I do with my clients when we meet for the mental health assessment. It is crucial to understand where you want to go before you set out to get there. A lot of times I find that people fill their schedules with urgent tasks that may seem like top priority; however, in reality these tasks are low priority and are not helping to take steps towards any specific goal. These people may then come to the end of their day exhausted and ready to shut down with no forward progress on the things that they have decided matter most.
When we run on the mindset to accomplish urgent and low priority goals, we can easily become fatigued and feel as though we are not getting anywhere with our efforts. Focusing our time and energy on specific goals can help alleviate stress and help us get to where we want to go in life.
Challenge: Think about the types of goals that you would like to focus on in the coming months.
I find that it can be helpful to set specific and attainable goals with a solid timeline. I have been in the personal practice of setting six specific goals to focus on in the next six months, this practice is called creating my 6 by 6.
Five things to keep in mind when creating a goal, using the SMART mnemonic:
• Make sure your goal is SPECIFIC by avoiding generalizations and vagueness in the wording of your goal.
• Your goal should be MEASURABLE or able to be quantified.
• The goals you create need to be ATTAINABLE and realistic; now is not the time to set a goal to buy a house when you have nothing saved for a down payment.
• Make sure your goal is RELEVANT and is something that really matters to you.
• Set a TIME limit for your goal and try your best to stick to it.
Practice: What are three goals that you would like to accomplish by the end of the year? Create three goals to focus on in the next three months.
Simple is key! Try not to get too lofty with your goals, this can lead to feelings of failure and goal abandonment.
When another task or opportunity comes your way, ask yourself:
1 Can this directly be linked to one of my developed goals?
2 Is this task worth my time or will it take time away from accomplishing the three goals that I have decided were most important?
3 If the task/opportunity can not be directly linked to one of my goals – Do I have the extra time, energy, resources, and abilities to accomplish this without it interfering with my previously developed goals?