January is coming to an end. Are you one of the 8% that will claim success on their 2018 resolutions? Today let’s look at motivation. What makes your resolution important to you and how can you keep moving forward towards your goal?
Let’s examine a college student’s life. Janie is a non-traditional student, in her 40’s, and is working towards a graduate degree. Her goal is to step outside her comfort zone, learn new material, and gain skills for advancement in her career. She has a sold “B” in one of her business courses. She feels confident about the upcoming midterm, but also knows that additional study time could bring her grade up to an “A”. She plans to spend Saturday afternoon at her daughter’s gymnastics competition, then spend a few hours Saturday evening studying.
Janie’s best friend, Sarah, calls on Friday afternoon. Sarah moved away to pursue her career in a different town two years ago. Janie and Sarah make time for each other whenever they are in the same town and they Skype chat at least once per week. Sarah will be in town Saturday night and would love to get together for dinner.
Janie has a choice to make. She is familiar with the term “opportunity cost” from her business course. Whichever opportunity she chooses, dinner with Sarah instead of studying or studying instead of dinner with her friend, comes at a cost. As she considers her choices, she reflects on her motivation for her goal.
Pursuing a master’s degree is an investment in time and money for Janie. She will gain knowledge in this process and hopes to get promoted at work as a result. A promotion would allow Janie to do work that she find interesting and would provide more money for her family. She would like to spend that money on additional recreation time with family and friends. Janie asks herself which would she value more – an “A” or an evening with a dear friend?
Defining the why – the motivation behind a goal, brings meaning and value to the goal. Knowing why the goal is important makes it a priority. Many times, when we set goals our expectation is a clear ride to the finish line. The reality is that we will encounter unforeseen bumps in the road, steep inclines, and sudden storms. Sometimes we even encounter unexpected crossroads. Knowing why we are committed to our goal helps us through these challenges, straight through to the finish line!
GROW is a tool you can use to work towards and achieve your goals. GROW is a model that helps you define your goal, your current reality, your options, and your future path.
To use this model, first define what you wish to achieve(Goal). Then survey your current situation(Reality). Once you have established what you wish to achieve and what your current situation is, look at options to get where you want to go(options). Put on your creativity hat while listing options. Evaluate all your options and determine your way forward.
Let’s use travel as an example of how to use the GROW model. Imagine your goal is to travel from North Carolina to California. Your current reality is that you have a $1,000 budget and need to arrive in California within one week. Your options are bus, train, car, or plane for the journey.
Bus –five days, $675
Train – five days, $800
Car – four days, $240
Plane – 12 hours, $1200
There are a lot of choices to figure out your way forward on your trip. How will you determine which option to pick? A person who values thrift will drive their car, sleeping at rest stops as it is the cheapest option. A person who desires comfort while maintaining budget will choose the train. Perhaps the time savings outweighs the budget variance for another person to choose the plane. Which one will you choose?
Use the GROW model to define your journey. Once you have defined your goal, the GROW model can be used to map your journey to your achievement.
Is your goal SMART? Using the SMART model defines the how, where, what, and why of your goal. SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, Time-Bound.
Specific – Can you clearly define exactly what you want and the steps you will take to achieve the goal?
Learn a foreign language.
Save towards vacation.
Measurable – How will you know when you achieve your goal?
Step on the scale and see a loss.
Take a test that measures fluency.
See $1,000 in my savings account.
Achievable – Is your goal realistic?
I can lose weight if I eat more vegetables and less potato chips, drink more water and less soda, and walk 30 minutes per day.
I can learn Spanish if I take a class at my local community center and study for one hour per week.
I can save $100 per month if I pack my lunch and stop going out for coffee.
Results-Oriented – What will you have if you achieve this goal?
I will lose 20 lbs in 2018.
I will learn Spanish in 2018.
I will save $1,000 in 2018.
Time-Bound – What is the due date for your goal?
I will lose 20 lbs at the rate of one pound per week by September 15, 2018.
I will take the Spanish class, practice one hour per week, and take the fluency exam by November 1, 2018.
I will save $100 per month by packing my lunch and making my own coffee, and will have $1,000 saved for a vacation by December 1, 2018.
SMART is a framework for setting and achieving your goals. By getting specific, you are very clear on what you want to achieve. Making the goal measurable gives you a way to mark progress towards the end goal. Making sure that your goal is achievable boosts your confidence. Results-oriented helps to fine tune your goal. And for time-bound, scheduling a date with yourself helps to make your goal a priority. Use the goal planning worksheet below to make your goal SMART.
SMART Goal Planning
Specific. What will the goal accomplish? How and why will it be accomplished?
Measurable. How will you track progress towards your goal?
Achievable. Do you have the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, and resources to accomplish the goal? Will meeting the goal challenge you without defeating you?
Results-focused. What is the reason, purpose, or benefit of accomplishing the goal?
Time-bound. What is the completion date and does that completion date create a practical sense of urgency?