Setting Goals

Life is full of challenges and sometimes it seems that getting what you want, or just what you need, can be a challenge. Setting Goals is the first step.

In this blog I talk about my own experience with setting goals that are achievable but not necessarily easy. The reward makes the effort worth it.

When people talk about setting goals, they often talk about setting goals for yourself that are achievable. The acronyms I’ve seen thrown about generally include this one:

Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely

But there is something missing from the above, missing is the concept of making it a Challenge.  It’s very easy for most people to do the bare minimum in life, avoid anything that challenges their status quo and that doesn’t upset their existence.

The lives of the extraordinary people we see online, on the television and media – none of those people set themselves goals that didn’t include some sort of challenge, be it to their own skills, comfort zone or even challenging their expectations and perceptions.

A colleague of mine, who wishes to remain nameless, said he likes to use the acronym CARROTS as for him it includes a Challenge and a few different ways of considering it.

CHALLENGE – Every goal, not just everyday tasks but life goals, should challenge the way you think and behave. Even if you challenge yourself and find no need for change, you have at least looked at things in a different way. How can you do things better, not just differently.

ACHIEVABLE – Keeping in mind the challenge, achievable really covers both the ability to attain something and how realistic it is. Look at things from the perspective of how can you set a goal that if you push yourself you can not only achieve but earn.

RESEARCH – Even since I first set foot into cyberspace (the internet) I have always been fascinated with how others achieve the results they are driven to achieve. I’ve added Research, but what I really mean is seek out knowledge. Life should be a series of endless lessons where you learn from your mistakes – oh man will you make mistakes – but you understand what went wrong and learn how to avoid making the same mistakes twice. Research looks into whether the mistakes you are making are the result of your previous experience or a result of the errors in the way you have mentally prepared.

RISK or REWARDOne of life’s truths is that there is no reward without risk and no risk without reward. If something comes with a risk and no reward, either punitive, emotional or other, there is no reason to accept that risk. I personally struggle with this part of setting goals, my life’s experiences have taught me to be considerably risk averse with some decisions. Yet starting a Martial Arts school in a city I hadn’t lived in for over 8 years was a giant risk, the reward for my efforts is I get to see over 100 smiling faces a week come through the Dojang and watch people grow and learn. Consider what you are trying to achieve and consider the risks, don’t just consider the rewards.

OUTSIDE-COMFORT ZONEThis one is very important!! Push yourself to try something outside of your comfort-zone. Don’t just do what you know, learn something new while you’re trying to achieve your goal. In the end you will have achieved your goal and learnt a new skills – who knows where that new skill or skills will eventually take you. Consider this website, the original Hapkido Canberra website was awful and difficult to read due to my lack of development skills, with a little help and a lot of learning it has evolved into what it has become. None of it was easy or inside my comfort zone.

TIMELYI think this is really is self-explanatory, set goals that are not only realistic and a challenge but can be completed. There is no point setting yourself goals that you will never attain. If your largess goal isn’t timely – have you considered breaking it into smaller pieces with milestones that are timely and perhaps evolve different types of challenges. A journey of a million miles begins with a single step, focus on the steps and enjoy the journey.

SPECIFICThis can be difficult for people who like to live in the world of strategy. Viewing the world from the pie-in-the-sky mentality will give you an overall compass heading, but when you start you may be lost and unable to see the forrest but for all the trees. (Yes, had to get that phrase in..) I personally set my goals out with tasks that can be measured in terms of outcome – how many people attended – through to emotional outcomes – even if not as many people attended as planned, did those who attended enjoy themselves and just as importantly how did I feel about it overall.

Yes, the word does spell out C.A.R.R.O.T.S and I feel that is rather apt. Setting goals is all about setting yourself with challenges that will have a reward – providing you with something you can achieve and really get that carrot.

Training to attain your black belt, in any martial art, is about setting yourself Goals with carrots that you WILL be able to achieve. 

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