Do Your Goals Suck?

We talk about goals all. the. time.

  • I want to get in shape
  • I want to eat healthier
  • I want to do better in my career
  • I want to be more available to my family
  • I want to travel more

And this list goes on and on.

Most of you can identify the fault in these goal types.

We’ve all heard of S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Focused, and Time Bound. In these previous examples, the goals aren’t specific, measurable, or time bound. Perhaps we can guess the results, but even that is a bit difficult to ascertain.

So, let’s turn one of these into a SMART goal.

“I want to get in shape” isn’t exactly a great goal. Let’s tweak it a little: “I want to lose 20 pounds by my honeymoon in 6 months.” We’re getting somewhere now.

  • 20 pounds – Specific & Measurable
  • 6 months – certainly Attainable and Time-Bound
  • Honeymoon – Results-Focused

But I still hate this goal.

Whenever I do business coaching with other gym owners or talk to our interns about what it means to be a supportive coach, I go through an exercise of listing everything we ask of a member. It’s not just an hour of exercise. It’s EVERYTHING that goes into that hour. We’re asking people to:

  • Wake up earlier
  • Pack a gym bag
  • Purchase workout clothes
  • Be better time managers
  • Pack a lunch
  • Skip happy hour
  • Adjust their kids’ schedules
  • Communicate their schedules with their significant other
  • Invest money today that will not see a return for 30+ years
  • And this list goes on and on…

It’s daunting to think about, but what if we changed our “goals” to embrace the process of their attainment? We’d probably be a lot more resilient as humans and have the tools to tackle any new goal going forward.

Going back to our “20 pounds by my honeymoon example,” this looks like: 

  • I will wake up at 5:30am Monday-Friday and work out first thing in the morning.
    • Don’t leave this till the end of your day – you won’t do it.
  • I will eat a breakfast I made and pack a lunch and snacks everyday of the week.
  • I will not schedule lunch meetings and happy hours.
  • I will be in bed by 10:00 every night.
  • I will spend at least 20 minutes everyday reducing stress, practicing mindfulness, or meditating.

Feels pretty extreme when you put it that way, right? 

It’s difficult to look at the process on the front end of change. It’s much easier to simply say “I want to lose 20 pounds” without examining the work you’ll need to do to achieve that goal. But acknowledging and embracing the process on the front end will immunize you from the inevitable “I don’t have time…” that will come up about 3 weeks into your life change. By embracing the requisite process of change you’ve built in the time and effort component. You’ve made time, eliminating the need to find it.

Don’t fool yourself – this will be very uncomfortable at first. But, you’ll eventually wear this process like a badge of honor. You’ve crossed over into the group that makes time, delays gratification, and embraces the process. You’ll experience small victories along the way that will make the journey of change worth every second.