Goal Setting vs. Progress Making


Goal Setting vs. Progress Making. What? I thought that in order to make progress, I have to set a goal! Well, yes and sort of. Let’s take apart Goal Setting by using a well-known and successful method, S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based) Goals. There are some different versions of what the acronym stands for, I like this set.


Goal Setting Process Laid Out


Specific – Yes, we have to be specific. I want to lose 10 pounds by 12/31.

Measurable – Weight is measurable, check.

Achievable – Yes.

Realistic or Relevant – I think so. My health is pretty important. Plenty of time.

Time-based – By the end of the December, check.


The best worksheets that help you with a S.M.A.R.T. Goal will include listing obstacles and items that may need to be done before you can directly begin to work on the goal. You also need to write down the steps you need to take, map out a plan of how you are going to get there. You can Google <smart goals templates> to see many versions. A solid group may be found here https://www.template.net/business/sheet-templates/smart-goal-worksheet/. All good stuff if you are ready for the Goal that you have chosen.


I, Robot


Well, actually, I am not a robot. Goal setting is often approached as a programming affair. Here is what I want to do, here is my plan, now I am going to do it. Really? How big a change was it for you? Mindset, attitudes, expectations, feelings are all being ignored. If we want results, we must work with ourselves and not be forcing ourselves so much. Forcing ourselves to do things does not feel particularly good and there is only so much of that you can do each day. You run out of the umph of it.


Starting with What You Want


For the rest of the year, I have Goals for many different aspects of my life. I also have ‘things I want to add to my life’ going through next year. In addition, I have things that I want to improve next year, not yet sure what I am going to do about them. If I wrote all of these down as S.M.A.R.T. goals, I would be quickly overwhelmed with lists, lists, lists, of things to do. I think we can agree that that would not be helpful nor productive. I am also not going to narrow myself down and say that I cannot pursue multiple objectives at the same time.

1. Health

a. Forest walks.

b. Get up to 5 miles/day.

c. Lose 10 pounds.

d. Meditation, more often.

2. Business

a. Get x number of new clients.

i. Lots of sub-lists here.

3. Faith

a. Improve connections remotely.

Making Progress


When I started walking seriously in May it was because I realized that Covid-19 was going to be around for awhile and I needed to lose the weight I had gained since February and March. I felt awful. The idea of goals or goal setting was too much. The emotions of the moment would not allow it. What I could do, was walk down the block and back. Then, I could walk to the light and back. That felt pretty good, how far is it? Cool, I’m walking about a mile. How about if I walk down to the overpass and back? How far is that? The point is, I can be kind to myself. I can feel the energy I have for the day and say, today, I can do X. I can now say to myself, it doesn’t matter if I am not so excited to walk today, let me just do it because I will feel better. I could not say that earlier in the process. For many aspects of our lives we can focus on making progress, kindly, with self-compassion. And if we do not reach a goal we had in mind, that is O.K.. We made significant, important to us, progress.


Selecting Goals


For my business, I must have goals. I prefer input goals, because I can control what I do (if my emotions, mindset, skills, knowledge are all in alignment). Using S.M.A.R.T. goals for what I want to achieve will be too unwieldy, but I can use them for specific aspects, e.g. Projects. Remember, the ‘R’ stands for Realistic.


Your Choice


It is your life. You get to prioritize what will rise to the level of Goal Setting and what will be wonderful if you make Progress, no forcing.


1. Map out areas/aspects of your life and what you want in each area.

2. Decide how you want to approach the improvement (Goals or Progress).

3. Assemble your Team in each area, ongoing (see prior post). We are not alone.

4. Love your life!

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