Goal setting is more than writing up a list of hopes and dreams, accompanied by a set of tick boxes. 

It starts with a why

Otherwise, when the going gets tough … why bother?

How many of us, realising something’s gotta change, set ourselves a new goal in a fit of frustration?

It may work for a while, but long term, once the pain that caused our “I don’t want this” moment has moved on the old habit creeps back in. 

We have no why. No reason for wanting the long-term change, except a short-term dislike of where we find ourselves.

Successful goal setting means spending time on your personal ‘why’ so we have a reason to keep going. 

1. Is specific

What will it look like when you achieve your goal? Be specific about how you know you will have achieved it.

What will it sound like? You’ll no doubt have a few words of celebration and self-congratulation, and so too will others. Write down what you think you’ll have to say and what you think other people will say to you and about you.

How will it feel? This is more than a one-word answer like, “amazing.” Yes, it will be amazing and how will that feeling show up inside of you? 

The more specific you can be, the better. This step will be part of the visualisation you can return to when you need a little bit of a boost during the ‘messy middle’ piece of goal achievement. 

2. Is realistic

Do you think you can get there within the timeframe you’ve allocated to yourself? If it’s a big goal you may like to break it down into smaller chunks and work through how long each piece will take.

Do you know of anyone else who has achieved this goal, or something similar? If so, they will no doubt have some lessons of their own that they may be prepared to share. Make friends, and tap into their knowledge … or read their book if that’s an option.

3. Has checks, balances, and accountability

Map it all out before you start. Where do you want to be at the end of each month? Be specific about the smaller pieces you want to complete that build up into bigger pieces. 

Then break it down even further, in order to get XYZ done within a month, what will you need to do each week? 

And then every day?

The more specific you can be the better. Now find yourself an accountability buddy and ask them to check in with you … it doesn’t need to be daily, weekly, or fortnightly is ok too. Share your plans and steps so they can ask you specifically what you’re up to. 

4. Has Accountability

It’s important the person you choose is going to be someone who is compassionate (for when you stuff up!) and at the same time is going to hold the expectation of success for you so they don’t just let you off. 

Pick carefully.

You may want this person to be someone who is not personally involved in your successful achievement, a person one step removed is often better.

5. Gets to be celebrated

You’ve worked so hard, how are you going to celebrate this milestone? Any accomplishment you’ve put diligent effort into deserves a celebration of your choosing. 

For parents who are guiding their rangatahi through the goal-setting process, all of these steps are important. If your young person expresses any signs of resistance then explore it. Beautiful conversations come from these opportunities. 

The fact that you’re reading this blog means you’re interested in guiding your rangatahi. Click here if you’d like coaching to best guide your rangatahi into goals they will love, or to try it out on yourself first!