The greatest hindrance to making progress in your life is unobtainable goals and objectives. While you want to think big, sometimes you mistake your objectives for goals. This creates havoc. The second biggest mistake you make is to have too many goals and objectives. In this case, the statement, “less is more” is true. A quick Google search will reveal that most life coaches and experts agree with this. However, they disagree what the number of goals should be.
You need to strive for balance. Obviously, not every goal will carry the same weight. So it is possible that more than one of your goals will be in the same category. However, there is always improvement to be made in one of the four areas of your life. The four major areas of your life that you must consider, your spiritual life, physical life, relational life and experiential life. So, I suggest having at least one goal in each area.
Goals and Objectives
I realize I may be splitting hairs. But, the goal is the broad, overarching destination. The objectives are the defined steps to obtaining the goal. They may even be considered miniature goals to support the bigger goal.
The answer to avoiding havoc in your life is to create CLEAR goals and objectives. It should be said that the CLEAR acronym is not to be taken in a linear fashion. In fact, every part of CLEAR is interwoven to create a coherent goal or objective.
What is a CLEAR goal?
Concise and Understandable
I have met individuals whose goals for the year that look more like a user’s manual to life than a map to a destination. Goals and objectives should be created to be concise and understandable. When Twitter first came on the scene, users were limited to 140 characters. That is just a little longer than the first sentence of this paragraph. It forced the user to think about how to best state the thought they wanted to convey. The same should be true for stating your goals and objectives. As a matter fact, I would suggest your strive for stating your goals and objectives in 15 words or less.
Limited in Scope
Don’t try to conquer the world with one goal. For example, if you have a goal of paying off your debt. You did not get in debt overnight and you will not get out of debt overnight. So, maybe your goal for this year should be to pay-off 25% of the debt rather than just saying “Pay off the debt”. If you are like me, you want to get everything done in one effort. It is much better to limit the scope of your goal than to promise yourself the world.
Extent of Time
Not every goal is going to take the same amount of time. For example, If you are paying off $50,000 in debt, it may take you three or four years to pay it off. But, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds, that may only take one year. So, the extent of time allowed for your goal must be realistic.
This is important. If you know realistically how much time it may take, it allows you to plan accordingly and not become discouraged so quickly. If you know going into it that it may take three years to pay off $50,000 in debt, then you should not become discouraged within the first year.
Every goal and objective should be action-oriented. The best way to do this is to write out your goal beginning with an action verb. For example, a goal for drinking water would be “Drink….” “Drink” is the action verb. If you are paying off your debt it might be “Reduce…”. Always start your goal or objective with an action verb.
Finding your “Why?” is necessary when creating your goals and objectives. As a matter of fact, you should not even write the goal down until you have found your “Why?”. It provides you with the motivation to ensure that you will carry through on the goal. For example, if I want to lose weight, why do I want to lose weight? If it is simply to fit into another pair of jeans, then the “Why?” may fail me. But, if the doctor has told me that I am likely to have a heart attack in the next six months, then I now have a “Why?” that will carry me further than just getting into another pair of jeans.
When it is possible, you should write the “Why?” into your goal or objective. the important thing though is to make sure that the desired result is written in the goal based on your “Why?” If it is not possible to write the “Why?” into your goal, it is acceptable to add a clarifying sentence to the goal to state the “Why?”. But, be sure that even your “Why?” statement is fifteen words or less.
A Final Word
I have alluded to this throughout this post. But, I want to emphasize how important it is for you to write your goals out. I use a hybrid system. I write my goals in my journal and day planner. I also place them on a digital task list so I can set reminders to pop-up. It does not matter if you only write them out, use a digital system, or a hybrid system. But, you must use something!
In addition to writing the goals and objectives out, it is a good practice to place them somewhere that you are reminded of them on a regular basis. Perhaps you need to scan them or print them out to hang on your workspace wall or maybe you need to put them at the front of your day planner. However, you choose to do it. Get them in front of your eyes on a regular basis!