Setting Goals for Success

Have you set your goal?

Contrary to the belief that goals are big on the to-do list just at New Year’s, the reality is that setting a goal at any time, along with determining the individual steps that are required to meet it and write it down, will actually help you reach your goal much faster.

Just as you might set your gps when starting a drive for a new destination, the same is required when you set a goal. Think about where you are, and imagine where you’d like to be. Socially…professionally…personally…any type of objective has the same requirement. Name it. Break it down. Write it down. Do it.

Getting started

To get started, take stock of your current reality, and then develop some realistic goals over which you have control. If some of your ideas are for the long-term rather than more immediate, no problem. Make one list for short-term goals and another list for long-term goals. Check progress on short-term goals weekly or every two weeks; check progress on long-term goals once a year.

Goals must be realistic; I’m going to win the powerball might not be the best thinking. After all, this is not an outcome over which you have control; skip those pie in the sky ideas.

Realistic Goals with Specific Outcomes

I’m going to get in better shape.

  • This has potential, but lacks specificity. What constitutes better shape? Are you talking about eating healthier snacks and meals, does this include your exercise program, and how will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Be as specific as possible and try to think of the little details. And if you think of something later, no problem. You can always return to your original worksheet and modify as necessary.

Break Your Goal into Smaller Pieces

What will it take for you to meet your goal? Will you need to enlist the knowledge or assistance of someone else? If you do need to engage another person to assist you, make sure the financial commitment is realistic for you. There are plenty of resources available that can be accessed without cost; the only hurdle is your dedication to the task at hand.

  • I will engage a nutritionist for 4 sessions to create an eating plan to support good health and weight. OR
  • I will research (on line; at the library; with a hospital nutritionist) to find a meal plan that supports my goals.
  • I will complete a 45 minute physical activity everyday. Choices for physical activity will include (Make a list of anything that would be a realistic option for you. If you write something down that you end up hating, again, go back to the original paper and modify your options. You might hate one activity, but love another. Maybe you’ll join a group that focuses on one of your choices! And maybe you’ll eventually join a group that focuses on one of your activities.)

Write Down Your Goals

Written goals have a very different impact than those that simply come to mind. Writing the goals down will make it harder to ignore them, and you will feel more accountable.

You are Worth Your Efforts

Just remember, it is always acceptable to modify those goals. You, like all people, will change throughout any given time period. You may decide to modify your goals to make them easier to reach, or even add additional challenges. Regardless, be true to yourself and know that you will benefit from the time, work, and goals you set.

Happy goal setting!

Dr W


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