Have you ever sat down to write your goals and wrote so many that by the time it came down to it, the goals seemed either insanely overwhelming or flat out impossible?

Yep. Me too! 🙂

Which is why I’ve started asking myself the following 5 questions each time I sit down to write out my goals (which by the way I suggest you do weekly, at a minimum).

So first, go ahead and write down those SMART goals!! The most important thing is to get them on paper! And once you’ve done that, ask yourself these questions:

What are my OBSTACLES going to be?

These can appear in many forms: Friends, family, your own bad habits, circumstance, etc. What you’re basically doing here is playing Devil’s Advocate with yourself. If you’re trying to loose weight and you know your friends are going to try to peer pressure you into the weekly Wine & Appetizer night, you’d better start preparing your combat plan, now! Be prepared for anything and everything and nothing will stand in your way!

What will my own EXCUSES be?

You know yourself better than anyone. Be honest with yourself. What temptations are going to come your way to keep you from achieving your goal? Life happens! You will be too tired to put in the extra effort. You will have to stay late at work. Your kids sports schedules will be crazy and chaotic. You will feel lazy. You will want to give up. What will you do to ensure you don’t? Write it down. And when that time comes, remind yourself, “I knew this was going to happen. And I promised myself that when it did, I’d be ready!”

Who will be my ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER?

Enlist the cheering support of someone close to you. A spouse, friend, child, co-worker, coach or peer. It’s best if it’s someone with a little skin in the game, though. Someone who will directly benefit in some way if you succeed. A coach gets the satisfaction of mentoring a success. A spouse gets to live with a happier version of you and sometimes that’s enough. But what if you put some extra chips in the game? (Try planning a special trip with your spouse or family if they support you in achieving your goals. But be sure to ensure that the goal is a SMART one, that way everyone else will be able to track your progress and rally on your behalf.)

What will this COST?

This isn’t always financial, although it may be. Do you need to set aside money to achieve this goal? Does that mean budgeting or giving up a splurge in some other area? How much time will this take out of your days? What will you have to give up, or put on the back burner, to free up this time? Be sure not to overcommit yourself and neglect the important things in your life. That will only lead to feeling unbalanced, burnt out and resentful. Even if you achieve your goal, by neglecting the things you value most, you will have ultimately failed.

What is my REWARD/ PUNISHMENT?

What emotional reward lies at the end of your journey. Go deep for this one. You have to really really really want to feel this way- almost more that you want to eat or breathe. If you want something bad enough, you’ll stop at nothing to get it! On the flip side, how painful will it be if you fail? If the potential pain is severe enough, you’ll go to the ends of the earth to avoid feeling that way. A good way to “try on” emotions is to practice Visualization. Imagine yourself achieving your goal. And feel the positive emotions run through your body. Then, imagine failing. What does that feel like. If ever you feel like giving up, go back to these emotional drivers for a little extra fuel to keep you going.

This always helps me get super clear about my goals and helps me to ensure I’m setting goals I’ll stick with. I hope it helps you as much as it helps me!

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