“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the actions steps.” – Confucius
There is a lot of material available on how to set goals, on good planning, and on how to overcome common pitfalls related to both. My purpose here is to highlight some of the ideas and resources I have come across that have worked well for me or others I know…they are by no means the end all, be all, but they will certainly offer you a helpful place to start.
Goal Setting Tips
1. Start small (both in terms of quantity and quality), with reasonable goals that you can actually achieve in the time frame you set. Really take some time on this step to make sure the goals you are setting are realistic for you, your schedule, your lifestyle, your family, etc. Please note, that small for you may not look the same as it does for someone else. We all come to this place of goal setting with different circumstances, skills, experiences, etc. Choose based on what is best for you – don’t compare your goals to those of others. Remember that taking small steps in which you can experience success will get you to your end goal much faster than setting lofty goals you are not able to meet and keep consistently.
2. Keep your goals in front of you at all times. That may mean something different for everyone, but a few suggestions might be: Write them down on paper. Make a goals poster. Post them places you will see them often (bathroom mirror, your office, on the refrigerator, etc.). Just make sure you are thinking about them and/or working on them every day.
3. Take time every so often (daily, weekly…whatever makes sense based on your goals) to evaluate where you are, how you are doing, what tweaks you may need to make, etc. This practice of goal setting is very organic…it can and should change throughout the process. Stick with what is working and discard the things that aren’t.
4. Appreciate the progress you do make, however big or small it may be. Celebrate your successes!
5. Allow yourself to be human. In other words, you may not always hit your goals. You might have an off day or week. No biggie. Just take a little time to evaluate why that may have been the case, learn from it, and make improvements to your process…but whatever you do, don’t give up!
6. Find yourself an accountability partner or coach…someone to check in with from time to time. It will help keep you on track, give you an added support system, and provide you with someone to bounce your ideas and/or frustrations off of as you work on your goals. A brief word of caution – just make sure the person you choose believes in you and your ability to achieve your goals. You want someone to hold you accountable but also to support you.
7. Recognize that goal setting is a practice. In other words, you will have to consciously work on it and at it. We have to continually practice it in order to get better.
8. Remember it is a cyclical process – set a goal, work toward the goal, achieve the goal, set a new goal…keep reaching for that better version of yourself!
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau