January is a time for new beginnings, and one of our rituals is to create a resolution, which is just another word for goal. I’m a big believer in goals and goal setting. 2015 was a year where I achieved a long term goal; Master Zach Whitson promoted me to black belt in Counterpoint Tactical System. Just saying that my goal is to get a black belt is not enough. It’s a large endeavor and too vague on its own. In order to achieve that goal, I had to break down that goal into attainable steps. Today, I detail that process, but instead of my past goal of attaining a black belt, the process is applied to a goal for 2016.
Goal setting is an important method for self improvement. I use a system called SMART goal setting. For a quick review, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. As an example, I’ll start with a goal that I’ve set for the STL Counterpoint YouTube page. Before going through the example, I recommend reading the previous post on SMART goal setting, and if you have any more questions, please, e-mail me, find me on twitter, or leave a comment.
— STLCOUNTERPOINT (@PrimmLife) January 3, 2016
For 2016, I will add two new, STL Counterpoint videos per month to the channel for the entire year. Let’s demonstration how that’s a SMART goal. First, by stating a schedule of two per month for this year, I’ve set a timely goal. Measurable means easy to determine an outcome; so, here it would be two per month. A generic goal would be to post to YouTube, but I set a specific goal of two, new videos. Two uploads per month to YouTube is attainable; I did it during the month of December. If I said twelve uploads a months, the goal would be too much of a stretch for me. The relevant portion is the “new and STL Counterpoint” part of the goal. Relevant also means the goal is moving you towards a bigger, better purpose. For example, I could make a goal to eat ice cream twice a week for six months. That goal is specific, measurable, attainable, and timely. But is it relevant? How does eating ice cream improve my martial arts? It doesn’t. So, to repeat, my specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goal for 2016 is to post two new, STL Counterpoint videos per month to our channel for 2016.
Now that the goal is set, it must be written down, but we’ll talk about that in another article. Once the goal is written down, it’s important to do a little up front preparation. For the example of my videos, I am making a schedule. The goal is for two videos per month, which means an upload approximately every fifteen days if I plan to space out the uploads evenly. To visualize this, I created a spreadsheet, which turns my goals into milestones. Now instead of focusing on twenty four videos in twelve months, I have a mini-goal of one upload by the fifteenth of January. Figuring out how to begin your goal is worth taking time to plan first before diving right in. A little up front planning will make things easier later in the year and, especially, when your motivation is flagging.
Part of the upfront planning is determining what is needed to accomplish your goal. If your goal is to lose weight, having a scale is needed to track your progress. If your goal is to learn how to smoke various meats, then a smoker, chips, and recipes are a must have. To run a 5k, you’ll need good running shoes, a practice route, and a good playlist for the jog. Take a little time and brainstorm what will help you accomplish your goal. These requirements may change over the course of your journey, and that’s okay, but by doing this at the beginning, you take advantage of the same enthusiasm that led you to set a goal.
The final step before actually starting is to build your support network. Find people who will support and encourage you as you strive. This will involve telling those closest to you about your goal. Stick with the positive people in your life; support those who are working towards their own goals. At some point on your journey, your motivation won’t be there. You might feel like quitting, and you’ll wonder if you are capable of reaching the finish line. This is a natural part of working towards a meaningful goal, and two things will get you through these rough spots: discipline and your support network. The impact of positive people on your life is immeasurable. Build and participate in a support network. I find that encouraging others is a good way to inspire myself. Add me to your support network: Follow @PrimmLife
It’s a new year, and it’s time for those resolutions. This year, make ’em count by turning the resolutions into attainable goals. Put your goal in the comments and let me know what you’re working on. Make 2016 a year of improvement.