As I write this post just three weeks into the new year, most people have already given up on their new year’s resolutions. Could it be that their goals were too lofty or unrealistic?

Perhaps most goals are not specific enough. Investing the time to be precise, and creating a plan to reach your goals is the first step. I like to use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. while formulating my goals and a strategy to attain them.

S- Specific; Having only two or three specific goals to obtain will ensure I don’t bite off more than I can chew.

M- Measurable; How can I track my progress on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis?

A- Attainable; is this a goal that can be attained in the allotted time period?

R- Realistic: Will meeting this goal bring forth true satisfaction and happiness, or is it a superficial want?

T- Timely; am I at a place in my life where I can dedicate the time necessary to accomplish this goal?

smartMany of the reasons why people fail to reach their goals is because they simply “want” something. The WHY is not strong enough to keep them motivated through the challenging times. When it comes to setting a goal, you must become obsessed with attaining it.

When I was in high school, I was very passionate about fitness and nutrition. To take my love of exercise a step further I decided to set a goal to compete in a local bodybuilding competition. I did very well, and placed 3rd among many other competitors. As I look back on the process of preparation for the event, I had a very specific process to ensure my success. I became literally obsessed with the outcome.

Every single thing I did had some sort of tie to preparing for the competition. I would have to put serious thought into my every action; planning meals in advance, working out everyday, avoiding certain people who I knew would weaken my efforts preparing for the contest. I would also deliberately place myself in the company of like minded individuals whom I knew could mentor me in the process.

My subconscious mind played a critical role in my preparation. I remember having vivid dreams about appearing on stage looking too soft or having eaten something unhealthy, sabotaging my efforts. My subconscious mind provided the reminders necessary to ensure I knew how I would feel if I slipped up and had not reached my potential.This example of perseverance can be applied to setting and carrying out your personal goals.

Had I not been passionate about taking my physical fitness to the next level, I wouldn’t have had the drive required to keep going.

In the military we have a saying “aim small, shoot small”. We reference this in weapons marksmanship, it can also be applied to setting goals. If we can narrow the focus of our goal, and put all of our energy into the little things leading up to the shot- the chances of hitting the bullseye increases.

aim smallIn other words, when we are focused we increase our odds of successfully reaching our goals. Like the sharpshooter, when we are proficient we can consistently fire and hit our target. If we can then set goals consistently and master the steps to reach them, it becomes second nature.

Writing out your goals and viewing them daily until they consume your thoughts will undoubtedly help your heart to be inspired, and action will follow suit.

Please feel free to comment with any other tips you’ve found helpful to reach your goals.