The creation of goals near or soon after the start of a year is something many consider doing, fewer do, and even fewer complete. According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, only 8% of people who create goals ever complete them.
So, what can you do to not only create better goals, but find ultimate success in those goals?
Well, in “Goal Creation: Set Attainable Goals for 2020,” we discovered a number of ways to create attainable, realistic goals. In “Potential Goals: Set Attainable Goals for 2020.” we discussed goal options and looked at why the completion of goals is important. Now, in this final part, “Completing Goals: Set Attainable Goals for 2020,” we will explore ways to push through and find success in our goals.
Important Facets Goals NEED to Have:
There are many aspects that go into creating a good goal and then, seeing that goal through. A few key requirements are:
- Written Goals
Many people create goals, but those who write their goals down – preferably with sub-goals, dates for completion, etc. – are more likely to succeed in completing them. Additionally, having written goals that are easily accessible – within reach for consistent view – increases your ability to remember them and ideally reminds you why they were set up in the first place.
- Measurable Goals
While certain goals – such as, improving family relationships – are not measurable, the most successful goals are almost always measurable in both the final outcome AND date of completion. Certain goals may be challenging to measure – such as, learning a new instrument – however, few are impossible.
- Attainable Goals
All goals are not equal. Some require a longer time to complete, more energy, greater commitment, etc., and even this varies from person to person. It is important to create goals with a decent to excellent chance of success. Having a variety of guaranteed AND challenging goals may also work – after all, if your goals are never attainable, you are less likely to create new goals with confidence and optimism.
Additionally, it is important to realize that attainable goals may not be attainable when grouped together. Weigh your goals not only on an individual basis, but as part of the group of goals as a whole.
- Adjustable Goals
While ideally you would set your goals and sub-goals perfectly, the reality is that sometimes all the planning in the world cannot prepare you for the reality of doing. This is not an excuse to procrastinate or ignore your goals, or even to lessen them because you feel “uncomfortable,” however, goals need to have a certain level of flexibility built in.
Some years are wonderful, where we are healthy, our minds run like well-oiled machines and we have enough time to not only complete our goals, but make new ones to work toward before the year is out. Other years, life takes us by surprise and the requirements of a day, week, month, or even months, disallows us to work toward our goals – perhaps even rendering them obsolete. In those years where life takes you by surprise, in big or small ways, you need flexibility, not rigidity.
Including a cushion of one to five weeks in your goal's timeline gives you flexibility when your goal may not receive full or any attention. Additionally, it's best to realize that if a goal truly becomes obsolete or unruly, you CAN make alterations.
Ways to Increase Goal Success
There is no set method for everyone in regard to the successful completion of goals. However, there are many things you can do – not necessarily all of them – to increase your chances…
- Maintain a Positive Attitude
Now, there are many days that you may not have the energy or mental position to easily look at your goals with positivity. After all, sometimes life situations happen that leave you feeling as if side swiped by a semi-truck. Yet, even in the darkest of days, or when your goals seem impossible, a positive attitude can go a long way.
The best way to improve your attitude is to turn to God, praise Him, thank Him, and focus on what He has done in the midst of everything. Further, speak positivity into your goals, remember why you began them, allow yourself a day or two with even smaller than normal goals. There may be no strategy that works 100% of the time to set a positive outlook, however, with God, it is possible… and the benefits of a positive attitude will go far in your ability to reach your goals.
- Revisit Goals Regularly
It is important to not merely create goals and then try to remember them as long as possible. You need to revisit your written goals, reading them regularly – ideally at least once a week, on the same day each week. Further, examine your goals and progress regularly, revisiting the speed in which you expected to complete every sub-goal and goal. Be willing to alter them if necessary – preferably being flexible with this, but not changing things merely for “convenience” or mood.
- Create Rewards
This may not work for everyone, but think about children…Gold stars or various other stickers to show progress or good behavior; a lollipop if good at the bank; perhaps a reward/allowance for completing chores or alternatively not getting spanked or grounded depending on the nature of their parents. In all these examples children often complete tasks or behave well for the promised reward, then find unexpected benefit in the process.
Yes, as adults we should be satisfied with a job well done, but sometimes that “gold star” helps push us when our own initiative is floundering. Creating “goal completion rewards” and perhaps even “sub-goal rewards” can go a long way toward pushing many to their goals; and rewards do not always have to be large, merely fulfilling.
- Get an Accountability Partner
An accountability partner is someone to whom your are accountable. They know your goals, timeline, why you want to reach them, etc., and they will – ideally – gently push you if you are floundering. On average an accountability partner will discuss goals, how goals are going, and so forth, on a weekly or monthly basis. In this way, you not only are unlikely to forget your goals, but, through the tough kindness of your accountability partner, you are unlikely to quit.
Still, who makes a good accountability partner and how do you find one?
Chances are there are people near you who are either creating their own goals and would enjoy a mutual accountability partnership, or who simply care enough to encourage you toward your goals. An accountability partner can be virtually anyone YOU trust to not only know your goals in the first place, but to cheer you on – or chastise when needed – to help you move toward successful completion. Friends or close family can be excellent options, but the main thing to remember is that you need to be comfortable and able to CONSISTENTLY talk to them about your progress.
- Be Consistent
Many have heard Curt Landry say, “in consistency lies the victory,” and it is true…
From an auto mechanic to an Olympic level athlete, consistency in performance is key to a successful career. If the mechanic only manages to repair 60% of the vehicles brought in, it is unlikely they will stay in business long. If an Olympic level athlete only manages to be an Olympic level of fitness and skill 50% of the time, they are unlikely to win many medals or reach the upper levels of their sport.
The same is just as true for our goals as for the auto mechanic or Olympic level athlete… we NEED consistency. Yes, no one has a 100% consistency rate besides God, but aiming for consistency and doing your personal best to achieve it – without wearing yourself out – is key to success.
These are a mere handful of ingredients commonly found for successfully completed goals, and while they may work for many, no two people are the same. It is important to seek God first, not only when creating your goals – to discover and confirm what they should be – but throughout, so that you can understand what God expects and what He would have you do to succeed.
Remember, God never expects more than what you are capable of doing WITH Him. By turning to Him at every stage of your goals, you are not only more likely to succeed, but, through the process, gain a deeper, more intimate walk with Him. SO, no matter what the outcome is with your goals, you still have the truest form of success- a relationship with…