Whenever asked why I left a career in rugby at the ripe age of 25, I turn to the quote “without a goal, you cannot score”. Those words helped me to find reassurance whenever wavering on the decision. Now, eighteen months on from that decision, those words help to guide much of what I do. My goals are now clear and they are meaningful. So with the new year now upon us and resolutions being broken, I once again have goal setting on my mind.
In the past I shied away from goal setting. Perhaps through lack of understanding or perhaps a fear of failure. For whatever reason, in the past I found it difficult to set anything specific and to commit to an outcome. I once set a goal to “explore the possibility of learning Spanish” – that’s about as non-committal as it gets. Surprise surprise, mi no habla Espanyol. Ironically, in the months that followed my decision to retire, the importance and the art of setting goals became one of my favourite subjects.
You will likely be told “setting goals is easy, sticking to them is hard”. True. However, set a goal correctly and you may just find yourself achieving it…
MY GOAL SETTING BLUEPRINT
1. Set goals you care about
If you are to commit to a goal and the pursuit of that goal, it is vital that it means something to you. If you don’t believe that achieving the goal will excite you, and if you don’t think you’ll learn anything in it’s pursuit, set a different goal. You must care about your goals. You must want them.
2. Acheiveable goals only
This does not mean setting only easy goals. Set your goals as big and far fetched as you like. This means that a goal must have a tangible achievement point. It is no good saying “I will eat better in January”. How do you really know if you have done just that? In the past I set goals like this the whole time. They aren’t goals. Commit to something specific. Chase it. Enjoy the satisfaction of achieving it (or learn some valuable lessons whilst trying too).
3. Make them real
Write them down. Pin them up. Set them as your screensaver. It is very easy to lose track of your goals especially if you have multiple. So put them in front of your face. Set reminders and make it as easy as possible to be nudged towards achieving them.
4. Set micro goals
This is particularly important if your goals are set to be achieved over a long time period. Micro-manage those goals by setting smaller targets in the process. This way you can track your progress whilst enjoying the feeling of achievement along the way.
So go ahead, set yourself some new goals. Strive big or strive small, but always be striving for something. We are never a finished product. We can always do and be more. Just sometimes it helps to have a blueprint to work from…
Stay hungry, be happy,