Creating and crushing goals – a how-to guide

Have you ever questioned what you want from life?

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 10.33.15 AMAs kids, we were always dreaming. I was almost always wondering what life would be like when I was 29 (why 29? I have absolutely zero idea…). Would I be a professional figure skater, a chef, a veterinarian? The choice was mine. But as most of you can probably relate, these dreams and visions have been clouded over time by pressure from work, school, and just plain life. Sure, by going to school and work each day, we’re on a path going somewhere. But my question is where – and more importantly, why?

Forgive the heaviness or for sounding corny, but this question was something I never seriously considered until this summer, when I took on a part-time job at lululemon athletica down here in DC. As part of our job training, we are coached and taught how to set goals for ourselves. When I tell people this, it usually garners one of two responses – an “oh, that’s cool…goals? Who sets goals?” or a more delighted, “I wish my job taught me how to set goals”. These lukewarm reactions leave me wondering, why are we not taught how to set goals for ourselves while we’re young – like, in grade school?

 Left without an answer to this phenomenon, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned about goal setting, and provide a few different strategies, regardless of where you want to be in life.

Create a vision for your life in 10 years – establishing a clear picture of where you see yourself this far in the future will give you a pretty good idea about what matters to you, and will inevitably answer the looming question – what do you want from life? This vision isn’t dependent on whether you’re happy with your life right now. You very well may be, but taking a moment to dream and see what you want to add to or subtract from your life is an effective way of identifying small goals that will drive you towards your ultimate happiness.

Think about who or what you value most in your life right now—Does the future you value the same things as the present you?

Think micro – What are the parts of your vision that are not present in your life at this very moment? What things do you need to remove from your life to make your vision a reality? Pick actionable items – things you can change with a concerted effort.

 Be SMART – I’m going all grade school with you right now, but, the best goals are SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-frame specific. To give you a quick example, one of my one-year goals, set in August 2014, was to complete a Tough Mudder by November of 2014 (crushed it at the end of September 2014!). This goal directly relates to my vision, as I visualize myself in 10 continuing to be fit and healthy.

For many of us, weight loss or “getting in shape” is a common goal. I get it – look good, feel good. Feel good, look good. I’m in the same boat. So, if that’s your goal, here are some steps you can take to help you achieve exactly what you want. First, pick a measurable goal – shoot for a certain number on the scale, a pants size, or a body fat percentage. Don’t make it crazy – 20 pounds in one month might be a bit too ambitious. Don’t worry – if your goal is 20 pounds, it is totally achievable, just make sure to give yourself adequate time. Sounds like one SMART goal to me…

Now we challenge you. Create a vision for yourself, and create some goals to go along with it. If your goal is weight loss or getting in shape, I encourage you to download the Pact App to help keep you accountable and on track. It’s free to download, but you commit yourself to a dollar amount per week. If you meet your goals for the week, you keep your money and get paid by other users who have failed to meet their weekly goals. Getting paid to workout and crush goals? Sounds good to me.

 The Pact App is hosting a ride at the HB Tonight. Reserve your spot here, and come out for more info, swag bags, and a great Thursday night sweat sesh. See you in the saddle!

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