Purposeful goals: making SMART goals smarter

Forgotten all about your New Year’s resolutions? You’re not alone. Each January, we all start on the right foot, but by February, almost 35% of us have waved the white flag on our new fitness, self-care, diet, work, and savings regimes. Despite our best efforts, that fresh year sparkle wears off faster than our favourite long-stay lippy. Only one in ten people manage to stick with our #NewYearNewMe goals, which explains why a fifth of us don’t set them at all. 🤫

Recently, we’ve been shamelessly drawing newsletter inspo from our Membership Network. This community is ambitious; we want to find purpose, build our personal brands, set boundaries and deepen our professional networks. And while we might not be winning at everything (yes, we’re speaking for ourselves), we’re damned good at getting sh*t done. So what gives with our goal-setting fickleness? Turns out the problem really is them, not us. So, here’s how to pull your best intentions up from the bottom of your to-do list.

Turns out, SMART isn’t so smart

SMART goal-setting tells us to get specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. It doesn’t say how important it is to get clear on the underlying why. Not sure why you want to eat better, manage time more effectively, be more present, or get that promotion? It’ll make your goal harder to achieve. 

Thankfully, there’s still time before the year ends. Instead of calling yourself a quitter (tsk tsk, negative self-talk), let’s evaluate those goals a bit more critically. 

What’s your why?

Ultimately, we only stick to goals when they align with who we are and what actually brings us joy. Take a minute to picture future you. What’s your underlying reason for putting in the hard yards?

Sadly for Kristen and her six-pack goal, extrinsic goals motivated by money, status, and image usually fail. Intrinsic goals, on the other hand, relate to pursuing things that are meaningful to us, like personal growth, close relationships and well-being. Spot the difference: forcing yourself to go to the gym because you want to look good is much harder than going to the gym to lower stress and stay healthy #kristenfail. 

Get clear on your internal motivations, and you’ll remove a few obstacles on the path to completing your goals.

Ditch the external pressure

Forget social norms and how we ‘should’ look, work or live. One of the reasons so many goals fail? They’re tied to what we think we want rather than what we actually value.

One of our Powrsuit Members was proud that she had set a boundary after friends and family told her she works too much. She committed to leaving at 5pm but found walking away from her desk hard. Why? She’s proud of her work ethic and values excellence. She also loves her job. We gave her permission to drop her arbitrary boundary and instead focus on protecting another value; quality time with her partner. 

This may sound obvious, but we often go after goals that seem right instead of goals that are right for us. It’s time to chuck the ‘shoulds’ out the window. Ask yourself, what’s important to you? Your values should help inform your goals – and when they align, they’re more sticky. 

Bite-sized actions work

At Powrsuit, we love breaking big tasks into small actions – and it’s why we slide into your inbox with 30 second actions each week (and why our Masterclasses are only 15 minutes long). Anything bigger? Forget it. It’ll be relegated to the too hard basket. Our brains are wired to seek safety and avoid risk, and a big goal can seem really big. If we perceive a task as too daunting or hard to achieve, we get anxious and resistant to save ourselves from our over-optimistic selves. 😏 So break it down, chunk it down into smaller ones.

We’re all guilty of slapping a label on a goal and assuming that makes it one task. It almost never is. When another Powrsuiter decided to sign up for a gym, she didn’t action it for months. After much self-blame and analysis, she realised there were around nine steps to achieving this particular goal; weighing up options, understanding costs, testing the facilities etc. So she broke it down into smaller, achievable tasks and got cracking. We’re happy to report she’s now a regular gym bunny.

Back to the future

The next time New Year’s Eve rolls around, we hope you resolve to cut yourself a break. If you feel like you’ve failed to achieve this year’s goals, you probably have. But that’s ok – it’s not the goals that matter; it’s making meaningful improvements to your life. 

You’re reading this, so we know you’re heading in the right direction. 😉

30 second action:

Think about one thing you’ve achieved this year. We don’t care how small it is, give yourself a pat on the back for getting it done. Celebrating success is an easy way to motivate ourselves to keep moving forward, and we don’t do it enough. Please also hit reply with your achievements – we want to celebrate with you!

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