Let me be honest with you for a second.
I have a deep love/hate relationship with all things IKEA.
On one hand, IKEA is a Swedish born taste of heaven that is a blue and yellow beacon of hope for those of us looking for impossible to pronounce but affordable furniture, and surprisingly, a half way decent food court. Yet, you soon come to realize they have to put a foodcourt in there because you might get stranded in a modernist designed purgatory or your spouse keeps you there for hours on end.
Here’s where my frustration with IKEA comes in. It’s the instructions people. You feel me? The little flat man who is smiling all the time on the instructions page, yeah…that guy. I wish I could punch him in his little, smiling, two-dimensional face.
After 4 hours of assembly, copious amount of choice words you finally look at your finished product believing that you didn’t let the devil win in his little games today only to find that one of unfinished sides is facing the wrong way. Death. Fury. Rage.
I may or may not have thrown a hammer across the room one time, but I can neither confirm nor deny. What is the issue? It’s a lack of good direction, instruction and “how-to” get the end result you desire.
In goal setting the same is true. When you have good instruction and direction you’ll have a better chance at achieving your goals. If there is not a plan your odds drastically decrease. Rarely do people stumble into faithfulness or achievement. So how do we set goals? What are the practicals? And what are the practicals in a way that’s more clear than IKEA furniture assembly?
How to Set Goals
Let me put this disclaimer out into the world first. There are men and women who are exponentially more qualified to be writing about this topic than me. There is more robust and developed content, which you can find here and here if you want to go deeper in this field of study.
It also is incredibly helpful to find a coach who can walk you through this and keep you accountable in the process. As I wrote about in my first post, my godfather, David Giese, has a life and business coaching company that has been indispensable for me. You can find out more about him at his website here.
That being said, let’s do a quick recap of where we have been.
- Framework: We are thinking about these goals biblically, prayerfully, and eternally.
- Heart Posture: We are making goals with a heart posture of humility, faithfulness, and love.
So as we’re shaping our Christ-centered goals we need to be prayerful, grounded in the scripture, always asking is this goal eternity minded and will it lead me to love God and others more? If we start there we can move to the more practical steps.
Now we will look at 5 principles I use to help shape my goals.
- Break them up into different categories. I have different goals for the different spheres of my life. I break them up into ten categories that I use from Michael Hyatt’s “Your Best Year Ever”.
- Make goals that are S.M.A.R.T. You want to have goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and on a timetable.
- Specific – your goal needs to be very detailed and specific. I want to lose weight isn’t very specific. I want to lose 22.5 pounds is the specificity you need.
- Measurable – you have to be able to quantify your goal. I want to be more generous isn’t very measurable. A measurable goal would be I want to give away 15% of my income this year.
- Attainable – this has always been my struggle. Maybe you’re like me and think you can learn French, the Bango, and the nuances of quantum physics in a year, but you can’t do everything party people.
- Realistic – You know why you can’t learn French, the Bango and quantum physics all at the same time? Because you live in the real world with real confines. Make your goals realistic to your season of life.
- Timetable – Give yourself a specific, clear timeline. You want to lose 15lbs by August and want to go on a mission trip this summer. This will help give you motivation.
- Create a system for your goals. Your goals need to be written down, reviewed regularly, and broken down into smaller goals that move you to the bigger one. I also know that we are all wired differently, so use a system that works for you!
- Know your motivation. This is such a crucial part and often overlooked. You have to start with the why of your goal. Why do you want it? What will it bring to your life? When you start with the why the what and how typically follow.
- Accountability (but not too much). Accountability is essential. You need people who are going to push, encourage and challenge you. However, I agree with Derek Sivers that if you share too broadly you are less likely to complete your goals. So find a few trusted people and share your goals, but keep the circle small.
At the end of the day, even with instructions, goal setting can often feel like assembling IKEA furniture. It can be frustrating, exasperating and you will experience some set backs. More often than not though, the end result is rewarding.
So read the instruction manual, get the right tools necessary, give yourself a lot of grace, be patient and start moving in the right direction of achieving your goals.