Practical Goal Setting

1 January 2017
1 Jan 2017
3 min read

As the new year begins, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the best way to make goals. In the United States (and I’m told in most of the world), there is the idea of theNew Year’s Resolution which is setting a goal at the start of the new year in order to improve as an individual during the next 365 days.

Below are three ideas that I’ve gathered from my readings on what makes a good goal. I write them as a reminder to myself, understanding that practical goal setting is half of the battle.

  1. Make sure the goal is measurable. Goals, like life, need to have a way to determine if success has been met. Want to exercise more is not a good New Years Resolution; however, wanting to run three times a week is. In the second example, there is an easy way to determine if success has been met unlike the first goal which is nebulous in nature.

    Similarly, perhaps one’s desire is to lose weight. Stupendous! However, what does that mean? Do you want to lose one pound? 10 pounds? Over the year/next three months? These are all valid options, and it’s up to you to measure what success in this case looks like.

  2. Track the results. Now that you have a definable goal, it is important to track your progress in achieving that goal. There are many possible methods for doing so, including paper and pen, an iPhone app, or a giant wall calendar. Being able to determine success is a crucial component of goal setting.

    Imagine if my goal was to lose weight, but did not know my weight before starting the resolution. Maybe I cut soda out of my diet, but I’m not sure if any change occurred. Instead of setting oneself up for failure, having a start point and end point change the game dramatically.

  3. Don’t try to do too much. Finally, the last piece of advice I’ve gathered is to not try and do too much with your goal setting. For example, while declaring New Years resolutions I may be trying to eat healthier, starting to work out as well as wanting to start a blog. These three goals are all large endeavors. It is more useful to focus on one at a time to create the habit before moving on to the next resolution.

Those are the three tools that I’ve found help make goal setting successful. By clarifying the goal, tracking the result and not doing too much, this makes the goal both more practical and achievable. Using these techniques, it is far more likely that these goals will stick, making 2017 a year for the record books.

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