The idea of a fresh start is quite irresistible, isn’t it? I get it. There’s something amazing about a brand new year, which is why we are naturally drawn to capitalize on it. The opportunity of a new year causes many of us to set goals and make resolutions around this time of year.
Sadly, most of those goals and resolutions will never be kept. Simply “deciding” or “hoping” to do something is insufficient (as we all know). We need to know:
- How to put our goals or resolutions into practical action and
- How to carry-through!! Ugh.
In this post, I’d like to share some secrets I’ve discovered re: goal setting and taking action. However, I can’t stand not to mention the most important thing of all 😜 so need to say that as a Christian, the best enablement I have is through the Holy Spirit living within me.
Goal setting isn’t a stand-alone activity; it must be done in conjunction with the Spirit of God and God’s will. Grace Goals is the system I use to set God honoring goals and rely on His strength to accomplish them. You can check it out below.
Whew. Now that I feel better about sharing that, lol, I’m ready to share some very simple, highly effective tips I’ve discovered about goal setting.
Goal Setting Tip 1: Understand the Two Types of Goals
One of the most impactful books I’ve ever read is The Four Disciplines of Execution.
In this book, the authors explain the difference between lead measures (those key actions that PREDICT a result) and lag measures (those after-the-fact measurements that STATE what progress you’ve made towards your result). There is a lot more talk and explanation about these in the book, but this is the way I make sense of it, haha!
For Example: If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, your lead measure might be to exercise for 20 minutes every day ( IF you do this, you WILL burn calories which will result in weight loss). While your lag measure might be the 2 pounds your scale told you you lost this week.
Example: If your goal is to finish a 30,000 word book, your lead measure might be to write 1,000 words a day (IF you do this, you WILL have a book done in 30 days). Your lag measure is the increase in word count on a weekly basis.
My big takeaway from this (and it’s been HUGE) is that there are TWO TYPES OF GOALS. There are goals that state the result you want… Outcome Goals…
Example: Lose 30 pounds this year.
Example: Increase monthly income by $200
Example: Read through the Bible in 90 days.
…and then there are Habit Goals that can help you get those results.
Ex: Swap out a bagel for breakfast with a green smoothie.
Ex: Sell one $10 product every weekday.
Ex: Read the Bible for 35 minutes each day.
Here’s why this matters: Doing the habit goal PREDICTS you’ll reach the outcome goal.
I’ve learned that if I can break my outcome goals down and reframe them into habit goals, I can pretty much guarantee my success…as long as I carry through on the habit.
That’s incredible!! Think about it!
Now granted, not every single outcome goal can be reframed as a habit goal, neither is a habit goal always appropriate. Some goals can be reached without establishing a “habit.” However, for those goals that I’ve been most unsuccessful at reaching, upon reflection, more often than not it’s because they NEEDED more consistent effort over time. They needed a HABIT GOAL.
Okay, I just need to say how excited I am sharing that with you because it has literally helped me make HUGE strides in reaching my goals. You can read more amazing things I learned about goal setting in this book here.
Also, be sure to check out the post I wrote on 5 Habits Successful People Do Every Day <— Do yourself a favor and make these your first habit goals!
Goal Setting Tip #2: Set Goals in “Sprints”
By very nature, most of our goals won’t be accomplished in a day. Worthwhile goals can only be achieved over a period of time and with incremental wins. This comes with inherent challenges, such as momentum, motivation, unseen obstacles, diversions, and Murphy’s law. Yes, what can go wrong normally does. Or is that just me? 😉
I’ve discovered one of the best ways to help mitigate these challenges is through implementing my goals in “sprints.” I learned this concept first through the 12 Week Year book and have seen it in several online courses I’ve taken since then. This is a total game changer too!
Basically, a “sprint” is a short period of time in which you devote all your energy to accomplishing your goal. It’s committing to being all in for a very short period of time and not accepting excuses from yourself. The most common time frame for a sprint is 12 weeks/90 days. But let me tell you a secret…
I set my sprints for 7 days.
This works SO well! It’s natural for me for a number of reasons. First off, because I take a Sabbath rest on Sunday. Secondly, at the end of the week, I evaluate my efforts and am able to tweak my course of action. Sometimes I decide I need to change habit goals altogether depending on what’s happening. Thirdly, having a short and sweet 7 day sprint keeps me motivated! I can commit a lot of energy to something if I know it’s only for 7 days~ wink.
So yes, I still love (and set) 90-day goals but I love my 7 day goals even better!!
Which leads me to my next tip…
Goal Setting Tip #3: Conduct an After-Sprint Review
This is SOOOOO important! If you don’t track and measure your efforts, I promise at some point along the way you’ll burn out, be left scratching your head, and walk away discouraged. But if you learn to do this effectively, even so called failures will be huge opportunities and catalysts for breakthroughs. This is so vital!
Since my sprints are for one week, I do a weekly review. I print off my weekly personal growth review sheet and evaluate how well I did at completing my daily habit goals, what contributed to the successful completion OR the failure to do so, and what I learned from my sprint. Then, I set targets for my next sprint. See, adjustments are built in, wins are celebrated, and momentum stays strong. Love it!
P.S. Grace Goals includes a weekly review sheet, daily planning sheets, goal sheets, and so much more. It’s a biblical goal setting system that incorporates tons of practical strategies and tools. If your goal setting needs an overhaul, I highly recommend you give it a look!
These three simple tips have completely turned my goal setting upside down in the best of ways. I’m able to set smaller goals (I call them “daily doables”) that don’t require a lot of time. The end result is massive progress over just a few weeks time.
Now it’s your turn! I totally can’t wait to fist bump you when you reach your goal! So tell me, after reading this, what comments, tips, or questions do you still have? I’d love to answer in the comments, so fire away!
I hope this post has helped you understand what Habit Goals are and how they can make a difference in your personal life too. Keep me posted! 👊