Build a Better Resolution, Part 2: Stretch Goals
You know you want to achieve more next year. Maybe you've even set some SMART goals. How do you keep your goals on track? Or, if you haven't set individual goals and sub-goals, how do you start? Setting a good stretch goal is vital.
Stretch goals are your “big picture” goals, and they can be the source of much more detailed plans. Envision where you want to be at the end of your process. This end goal, this image of you in that better place, may seem far off or difficult. That's what makes it a stretch goal. You now have to stretch yourself to get there.
Let's say your stretch goal is to run a marathon. You then create smaller sub-goals for the steps up to that point and turn them into SMART goals. This could include running in the park 3x a week at first, then doing your first 5K and 10K races. Eventually, you have worked your way up to the marathon. If your stretch goal is to be healthier, lose weight, or be stronger, you can also break that down and set SMART goals for things like working out, losing X pounds by your deadline, and making changes to your diet. Your stretch goal is the vision. It's the ultimate destination. All your SMART goals can then serve that stretch goal.
As you're going into 2017, throw out the “resolution mindset.” Many people set resolutions, never really expecting to fulfill them because “that's what you do this time of year,” or, “everyone's doing it.” Take a little time to envision what you would like to see in your life this year and where you really want life to take you. Figure out what steps you need to take to reach that point, and turn them into your SMART goals. Then, keep yourself accountable for your results. In no time, you'll find yourself well on the way to achieving a new you and a better life.