It’s a common mistake to focus on the wrong things when we start to think about how to set goals. Often we go right to the results we want to achieve and forget about the steps in between.
A simple example is when we are trying to lose weight. Let’s say we want to lose 2 stone. So we set ourselves a SMART objective:
I’m going to lose 2 stones in 12 months.
This is Specific, Measurable, Achievable (probably) and set within a Timescale.
Why, then, do so many people have so much difficulty achieving the end result?
The problem is that we only have influence over the amount of weight our body sheds. We do not have total control over it. Of course, there are lots of things we can do to try and make sure we achieve the desired results but there isn’t absolute certainty that it will work because there are so many other factors at play. We’re just setting ourselves up for failure.
Typically we will become too focussed on weighing ourselves. When the scales tell us we’ve gained weight we feel disheartened. When this happens repeatedly we lose heart and start to give up.
The problem is we are focussing on the wrong thing. We need to focus on the things that are absolutely in our control.
We could consider the following SMART objectives:
I am going to eat 1500 calories each day for 12 months.
I am going to exercise 3 times a week for 45 minutes.
We know that these are things that are achievable. They are things we can control and measure with accuracy. If we do these things over a period of time they will have a big impact on our weight loss. We wouldn’t need to focus on weighing ourselves as weight loss is not the goal we are focussing on.
We can apply the same principle with anything we want to achieve – in our personal lives, at work, for ourselves and in helping our teams achieve their objectives.