Setting and achieving goals can often be frustrating. Some are not exciting; others end in disappointment or fatigue. Then there are those that have us feeling stressed and anxious the whole time.
Connecting our goals to powerful intentions with a quick check using SMART ICE (i.e. SMART + Important + Challenging + Exciting), can help overcome these frustrations but maintain a bias for action. Let’s take a look at a personal example.
On of my intentions is to get healthy and focused to improve the quality of my family time. That is the “What” and the “Why” . Now, over to the “How” which is the goal (or goals). While it may seem pretty straightforward to set goals for an intention like this, I have to admit, I failed many times at it and I still slide back but those failures have led to reflection and reading which in turn have led to a few big “ahas”. Those were:
1. it’s easiest to re-purpose or build on the good things (or good habits) you are already doing so don’t overanalyze your goal, get started and don’t be afraid to fail
2. being curious about something (particularly, something important) helps to maintain focus and
3. being excited about the experience and even, the anticipation of a rewarding experience helps maintain motivation.
So, let’s take one of my earliest goals: Run the distance of a marathon in one week.
SMART – The goal is specific and measurable (run 26.2 miles). It seemed achievable given my fitness level then (more on that). It is relevant to my intention and it is time bound (in one week)
It is Important – It has a strong positive impact on my intention – getting healthy and practicing being focused so I am willing to prioritize it over other things during the day
It is also Challenging– I had never run that distance in one week before.
Finally, it is Exciting – I get to explore new routes and get instant feedback for the effort I put in
Full disclosure, I failed.. many times. But, I had motivation in the form of my intention and a system that I could build on. So here’s how I did it and you can try these too.
Break down the weekly goals into smaller daily goals (SMART).
Prepare and reduce the friction in acting on your goal e.g. prep the run the night before.. clothes, shoes, music, training program, ready to go (Important).
Start slowly (totally counter-intuitive) and stretch a little bit (1-5%) every day and every week (Challenging)
Spark your curiosity and anticipation for the next run e.g. I looked for new guided runs, runners bios, articles on running and mindfulness (Exciting)
In this way, you can find what works for you to form a consistent healthy habit that supports your intention in the most meaningful way. The nice bonus is that you learn more about yourself and you begin developing a system that works for you. You become your own coach!
I’d love to hear your comments and feedback. Let me know by hitting like on this post, leaving a comment and following my blog!
P.S. Thanks to my sister for the idea for this post.