4 Ways to Set Amazing Goals

  1. Be vague about your goals
    • Sometimes it can be hard to pin down exactly what we want. Maybe you want to be healthier, but you aren’t sure yet what that actually means to you. Maybe you’re having a hard time quantifying a goal such as wanting to be happy. This muddiness can cause some of us to abandon our goals before we even get started. It’s like hiking an unfamiliar trail without a map. Sure, maybe you like to just jump head first into such a challenge. But for many people, something like that can be incredibly daunting, and means they won’t actually do it. The same is with your goals. Without a plan, your less likely to do it. So I give you permission to start your goal planning process by being vague. Be as vague as you want to be. Goals like being happy and healthy are great examples of this. Everyone wants each of these things, but many times, most people don’t even know where to start. In reality, that’s a great place to start. Recognizing these different things that you want in your life, even though you can’t count them or track them yet, are a great first step for anyone and can set you up perfectly for creating an amazing plan.
      • Examples of vague goals:
        • Learning to play guitar/piano/an instrument
        • Learn another language
        • Be healthier
        • Loose weight
        • Be happier
        • Save money
        • Have a better relationship with my family
        • Learn to draw
  2. Create “milestones” for your goals and Start quantifying
    • Now that you have your vague goals, think of the different aspects of that goal. What are some ways I could lose weight? How much weight should I lose? What makes me happy? Why might I be unhappy? What language do I want to learn? Why do I want to learn that language? There are so many questions you should ask yourself. Have a brainstorming session with yourself about all these goals you’ve been thinking about but haven’t known where to go or start. As you think of these questions and the answers to these questions, starting thinking of “milestones”. These are points in which you know you will achieve another piece of the puzzle to that goal. These milestones are also quantified so that you will known when you’ve achieved a piece of your goal. Or, if once you’ve achieved that milestone, and you feel like something didn’t work the way you planned, you can then reassess. I’m going to include some examples so that you can get some inspiration on what kind of milestones to have and how to quantify your milestones. Like I said, make it a brainstorming session because it will take a lot of brain power on your end to find what will work for you. Some of these can be huge, really really big lofty goals. Or you can make lots of little milestones. It’s up to you and your personal goal setting style. Sometimes if we haven’t been able to follow through with our goals, its nice to start off with a smaller goal to help get the ball rolling.
      • Examples of quantified “milestones”:
        • Learn to play 5 “beginner” songs, beginning to end, on the guitar
        • Read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Spanish
        • Run a 5k
        • Eat 2 servings of veggies 4 times a week for 2 weeks
        • Complete “Learning to Draw” book  with all lessons completed
        • Have saved $500.
  3. Daily Habits
    • One thing that I find really helps me, is starting out with making my goal a habit. It’s fun to brainstorm goals and break them down into their little pieces. But for many of us, that won’t necessarily get our butt in gear. So the thing that I do, is make them into a part of my day by creating habits. Many times, we plow ahead at full steam when we start with a new goal, only to burn out shortly after. We run into obstacles, or poorly plan our time, leaving us with severely depleted drive. By parsing a habit out of your milestones or goals, and focusing on creating that habit, you are more likely to continue working on your goals. Instead of jumping onto the exercise train to be healthier when you know that hasn’t worked before, try saying that you will walk 3 times this week for 30 minutes. If you can do that, amp it up the next week with walking five times a week for thirty minutes. Try and keep your momentum with whatever habit you choose until it becomes a comfortable part of your routine. You’ll know it’s become routine when you don’t necessarily need to look at your to do list to remember to do it, or when it becomes second nature and it just sort of “happens”. This is a good place to start adding other tasks and responsibilities to your plate. These habits can also help push you forward just a little bit each day, keeping you from stagnating or falling backwards on your goals. It’s helpful to have these in place because not only to they keeping you moving forward, if even just an inch, but I find they also keep you from feeling as if missing a day of the larger tasks will ruin your day or week or month. I know by doing this one thing, I am still working towards my goal, even if that big thing didn’t get done today.
      • Examples of daily/weekly habits
        • Meditating in the morning for 5 minutes 5 times a week
        • Practicing guitar for 20 minutes 3 times this week
        • Eating 1 serving of fruit everyday this week
        • Putting $25 in savings every week
        • Filling 5 pages with drawing practice exercises
  4. Break down your goals as much as possible
    • This might be an overdone tip but I honestly think it is the best, especially for those of us who get overwhelmed by goals easily. Personally, its such a great way to reduce the big picture so that I know exactly what to focus on, and I don’t get bogged down by all the other things I feel like I should get done or look up or write down. When I know what to focus on, as a procrastinator in recovery, it can help me accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. Take the milestones you set and try and break them down further. Depending on the size of your goals, that may not be necessary, but it’s worth taking the time to work on. Say you want to run a marathon. Some goal breakdowns might be to first build the habit of running. Then maybe make it a to do to make or find a training plan. Then follow that training plan, research different running fuel to try out, decide on a type of running fuel, find a marathon you want to run, find a smaller race you want to run. Think down to the smallest aspect of your goals and make those your first steps. You’ll be less overwhelmed and feel more capable of accomplishing more.
      • Examples of goal breakdowns
        • Writing one 90,000 word novel
          • Write in a journal/free write 5 times a week (Build the Habit)
          • Find novel writing resources
          • Look into NaNoWriMo, would this work for me?
          • Make a story outline
          • Write 100 words total
          • Write 5,000 words total
          • Write everyday, in the morning, for 30 minutes

I hope these goal setting tips were helpful for you on your journey to doing more, doing better, and feeling better. Let me know in the comments below if you have any goal setting tips that you find work for you. I would love to hear your thoughts and what your goals are!

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