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Setting Achievable Goals

As I was thinking of the best way to start the year (even though I am late), I realized most start the year with goal setting. However, because I recognize that setting a goal and achieving a goal are two different things, I wanted to be thoughtful about how I approach this conversation. So, I thought about how I typically begin this task (goal setting), the considerations made, and the barriers typically encountered when attempting to achieve goals. 


Ultimately, I noted the following 5 items that hinder us from achieving goals: 


  1. Lack of individual accountability. 

  2. Insufficient or no value assigned to output/accomplishment.

  3. Failing to consider individual capacity and capability.

  4. Burdens of procrastination and multitasking. 

  5. Overcommitment: Unable or unwilling to say "no" to tasks/projects unable to be completed (or above skillset).


Based on what I've shared so far, let's take a moment for a brief self-assessment, to explore the individual capacity to achieve set goals. As you begin to think about how you approach goal setting with consideration to the above 5 items, also think about the below:


  • Does your goal-setting process anticipate these barriers?

  • Can you identify the relationship between these items and your success? Or lack thereof?


I wanted to call this out because when you are setting achievable goals, these considerations make the different between success and failure.


Here's an in-depth look at why these considerations are important, and how they set you up for establishing attainable goals, to ensure you have a productive and prosperous year!


Patterns of Goal Achievement & Accountability

When you approach goal setting with consideration to your pattern of achievement or completion, you approach goal setting from a critical standpoint. You consider things like how often you accomplish all the goals you set. And if you don't accomplish all of them, how many do you accomplish? What are the characteristics of the goals you tend to achieve quickly and successfully? 


I find these questions and considerations to be important to ensure that you are truly aware of the barriers and any deficits that can keep you from attaining goals. Because it's when you are aware of these things you can put measures in place to address them, so that they will not be hindrances in the future. These considerations are reflective, allowing you to increase your self-awareness and accountability in pursuit of goal achievement. 


Accountability

Personal accountability, in my opinion, is the basis of ethical and moral behavior. Being accountable is a constant reminder to do the right thing, versus what feels good, noting that these are not always aligned. Accountability also reminds us of the importance of objectivity, and realism embedded in decision-making and planning, which also requires active self-acceptance and self-awareness. 


Exploring your patterns of goal attainment and accountability ultimately set you up to meet the goals, rethink where needed, and establish timelines that align with your capability and capacity to meet that goal. 


Capacity and Capability Assessment in Goal Setting

To ensure that we are all aligned in our understanding, I will define capacity and capability for the context of this post. While often confused or assumed to be the same, capacity and capability are slightly different. Capability is discussed in terms of the physical and mental (intellectual) functioning to support achieving the goal, whereas capacity is spoken of in terms of time, will, and motivation to achieve the goal. These distinctions are important because they ensure you can meet the goal with the knowledge and physical ability you have, but that you also can assign the appropriate time and priority to meet and maintain that goal. 


Appropriate consideration of your capacity and capability supports examining your ability in terms of time, esteem, motivation, physical, intellect, and confidence to achieve. This is important for you to be mindful of so that you set goals that you can meet and or exceed successfully.


Burdens of Procrastination, Multi-tasking & Overcommitment in Goal Achievement

Common challenges or barriers faced when in the act of goal achievement (attainment) are usually brought on by procrastination, multi-tasking or overcommitment. These are what we in psychology refer to as maladaptive (unhealthy or counterproductive) habits or behaviors. Now, before I go too deep into this discussion, I want to make sure to note that for those of you who are self-aware and able to operate within procrastination, can multi-task and complete multiple tasks, or even over-commit but still meet the goal, this is not for you. This is for individuals who fails to meet goals because they are burdened by procrastination, multi-tasking, or overcommitment. 


To continue, speaking first on procrastination, when you are trying to set goals that you intend to achieve by an established timeline, you MUST be considerate of the time need to complete the task. This is done by factoring in any time associated with anticipated challenges or barriers that either distract or delay you from achieving the task. Thus, by making this consideration, you set yourself up for success with attaining the goal through establishing realistic timelines. So now let's look at each a bit more closely.


Multi-tasking & Procrastination

In terms of multi-tasking, for those who struggle with focusing on one thing at a time, it is important that you first are self-aware that multi-tasking works against you in goal achievement. Because instead of accomplishing a goal, you will find that you are always working on multiple goals at a time. Which can be overwhelming and prompt you to either give up all together or feel defeated by the fact that you may never complete identified goal. 


Similarly, with regard to procrastination, frequent delay of goals is a clear sign there's a lack of understanding of how to approach the goal, how to address the barriers encountered, as well as having unclear timelines of how long the task or goal will take to complete.


To combat this, you want to take a step back, and assess the goals in terms of required or optional, small, or large, and consider those with shorter time commitments versus those with longer time commitments. This approach provides you the opportunity to prioritize and tackle those that are most significant and or that can be completed in the shortest amount of time first. Providing order to the goal list, gives you a guide for completion, so the goal no longer seems overwhelming.


Overcommitment & Goal Value Assignment

Regarding overcommitment and goal value assignment, I think sometimes in life we assign value to the amount of work we have, versus the actual impact of the completed work. This is a very important distinction because it is critical to know that simply assigning value to the amount of work, does not shape or speak to our self-worth and value. But often it is assumed these are synonymous (the same or equal), however they are not. Something else that tends to happen in overcommitment is that we fail to be honest with ourselves about what we have capacity and capability to achieve. However, if you properly consider capability and capacity, you can proactively steer clear of overcommitment.


In hindsight, overcommitment is extremely damaging, because you put yourself in a constant cycle of never accomplishing goals. Which in turn negatively impacts your will and confidence to complete tasks and goals at all or set goals in the future. Ultimately, to be successful with goal achievement, it's important to be self-aware and accountable of the value we assign, the effort and will we put in, and the timelines we give ourselves for completion. 


Something else I think is important to call out, is the need to extend grace throughout this process. We often forget to be kind to ourselves when in self-development or improvement pursuits. And goal setting is to be included in that as well. So, with that understood, it's important to be understanding of the fact that you will encounter challenges, may fail or not accomplish the goal according to your preference or desired standard. But know THAT IS OK! There is always the opportunity to learn from the experience, practice self-acceptance and awareness, and adjust to ensure that you meet the goal as you intend to next time. 


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Audridom the blog created by author and blogger Audreyanna Garrett, stands to give birth to spirits of acceptance, encouragement, understanding and forgiveness, as well as help diminish spirits of fear, desperation, doubt and frustration, all while encouraging us to move forward in truth to something greater. 

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