Goal Setting for Spring Success.

Spring is here, and with the additional hours of daylight and warmer days ahead (along with the horrible realization that bathing suit season is around the corner), we often feel a renewed sense of energy and focus toward the goals and intentions that we set at the start of the year.

A third of 2017 is behind us. Now is the perfect time to reflect on our progress, to look back to see all the good we have done, and to also review on where there is room for additional improvement and progress.

Whether your goals are around fitness, family, work or something else, we often use the SMART method to mark and measure our level of progress.

  • Sensible
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time Bound

Goals give us a framework for our life and are an important part of creating a life of passion, purpose and productivity, but it is only when we set goals that are in alignment with our values and current life situation that they will allow us to also find joy and freedom among the structure needed to reach our milestones.

We often think of our goals as the end product, something to be reached and another check mark on the box of life. I invite you to shake this up and flip this idea on its head. What if the reason for setting future goals was to liberate us in the present moment?

This month, I invite you to do a shake-up to fine-tune and shape up your goals for 2017. Here are seven questions to help you dial in your focus and ramp up your progress.

1. Why did you set this goal?

Was it something you wanted to do or something you thought you should do? If your goal does not energize you, make you want to be the best you that you can be, fill you with anticipation and excitement, then how do you think you will have the energy and stamina to keep pushing yourself forward? We often set goals in January and neglect to ask ourselves, “Why is this goal important to me?” Your goal needs to be in alignment with “why” you get out of bed every morning. If it is not, time to reboot and reset your goal.

“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals—that is, goals that do not inspire them.” —Tony Robbins

2. What progress have you made so far toward your goal?

This question allows you to reflect on all that you have already done to move you closer to your goals. If you look back and find there has not been any forward movement, instead of beating yourself up, take a moment and check in to see whether the goals you set four months ago are still in alignment with your current life situation. Refer back to question one. Oftentimes, we set a life goal and then our life changes. Just as your body changes and adapts to your workouts, you need to make sure that you leave room in your goal setting to adapt to the daily demands and surprises of life.

3. When have you been successful at similar goals in the past?

If you are not seeing the progress you want and you are putting the work in, think back to a time when you reached a similar goal in the past. Write down all the steps you took to succeed then, and now repeat those actions in the present.

4. Who can help you with this goal?

Whether fitness related or work-driven, there are people all around us who have already done what we want to do. Instead of trying to figure it all out on your own, find family or friends who have taken a similar journey in the past and ask them what they did to get there. It is one thing to do the research online and read a book but an entirely different experience to talk to others, gain their insights, and hear both what they would do again and what they would have done differently.

5. What do you like best about this goal?

If the answer is “nothing,” then it is time to change your goal. Goals should be a source of inspiration, not deprivation. If your goal is around weight loss or jean size, there is a strong likelihood that you do not jump out of bed every morning excited and energized.

“Yeah, I get to lose 10 pounds this year,” said no one, ever.

While improving your health may be an important factor to living your best life, it’s time to set a different end goal.

Shift the weight loss to be a steppingstone on the journey to a bigger and life-energizing goal. Maybe it’s a trip to Italy with your grandchildren a year from now or dancing all night at your daughter’s wedding, etc.

Create a goal that makes you excited to get out of bed every day, and then notice how much easier it is to follow through on the steps you need to take to get there.

6. Which things are helping you move toward your goal?

Keep doing more of that.

7. Which things are hindering you in reaching your goal? Do less of that.

Sounds simple, and if you remove the chatter and attachment to what you “think” goal setting is all about (pain, deprivation, failure, etc.) and keep your eye on your “why,” your goals will once again become a framework that bring more joy, more success and more freedom into your day.

So this spring, if you have not made as much progress as you had hoped toward your 2017 goals, remember you have not failed at your goals, your goals have failed you. Now is the time to shape them up and ramp up your year. I’ll check back in December to see how you did?

You’ve got this.

Photo credit: jelenahinic, ThinkStock