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Want to work on self-improvement but don’t know what goals to set for yourself or how to achieve them? You’re going to want to keep reading.
Planning goals to set for yourself can be daunting and overwhelming if you don’t have a clear idea where you want to start. But I don’t want that to dissuade you from setting goals at all. With the New Year approaching rapidly, it seems that everyone is sharing their new goals, intentions, and plans for the year.
Do not worry… you are not behind. Goals can be set at any point. All that truly matters is that you pick meaningful and achievable goals to set for yourself and STICK TO ‘EM.
I want to share a few of my own tips in hopes that it’ll make your goal-setting process run a bit smoother!
This post is all about goals to set for yourself!
Goal Planning Tips:
Reflection allows you to orient yourself and decide where you are, what you’ve learned, what’s worked, what hasn’t, and where you want to be. All of these are essential questions to answer when planning goals to set for yourself.
Grab a pen and paper and just run with this. Some questions you might ponder are:
- What goals did you have for the last year?
- Did you achieve them?
- Why or why not?
- Are you still working towards any of these goals?
- What areas of your life do you want to improve?
- Self care?
- What are the top 3 life lessons you’ve learned in the past year?
- Where do you see yourself ideally in the future?
- In 5 years?
- In 10 years?
- What are 3 examples of goals you have set for yourself that you have achieved in the past?
- Why do you think these were so successful?
These questions will get the goal-setting juices flowing. Reflection can be so powerful when determining what goals to set for yourself and your future!
Categorize Your Goals
Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you have different areas of your life that require different goals. I find that breaking down my goals into some key categories helps me visualize them better. These categories will differ from person to person, but a few of my favorites are:
- Mental Health
- Do I want to be happier? Include more self-care? Build self confidence? Journal more? Read more?
- Do I want to meet new people? Make more friends? Strengthen bonds? Be more social? Become a better sister/daughter/niece/friend? Rekindle a past friendship?
- Do I want to save X amount? How much do I hope to earn this year? What do I want my main income sources to be?
- Daily Life
- Physical Health
- Do I need to drink more water? Focus on eating more veggies? Strengthen my immunity? Move more? Spend more time outside? Feel more energized?
Again, these are just a few ideas… the opportunities are endless. There’s really no wrong answers here. There are even some goal setting journals that can help prompt this…
Again, these are just some rough ideas to help your first step in organizing your thoughts and brainstorming ideas!
Be SMART About It
If you are into goal setting at all, I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART goals. If not, let me explain briefly.
SMART is an acronym for:
Basically, the idea behind SMART goals is that they are more achievable if they contain these characteristics.
Make your goals specific, clear, and concise. When deciding goals to set for yourself, narrow them down and use action-type words.
Define ways that you could use evidence to track your progress. How will you know that you are taking the proper steps to achieve your goals? What are the signs of progress? Make sure you have a tactic to evaluate yourself along the way.
Be realistic!! Make sure you can reasonably achieve your goals with the time and resources you have available. Your goals should be challenging but achievable.
My motto here: Shoot High, Stay Grounded!
Make sure that your goals are relevant to your master end-goal. Set SMART goals that help get you closer to your long-term plan. These should be realistic for your individual life and relevant to you personally.
Set a realistic, yet challenging, end-date for your goal. Be specific here! When you have a deadline in mind, you are more likely to prioritize individual action steps in your everyday life that get you to your desired result on time!
Write Down Your Goals
Yet another way to hold yourself accountable and remind yourself of the goals you’ve set for yourself…
Remember when your teachers would tell you that you’d learn your vocab words faster if you physically wrote them down?
Well this is the adult version: here I am telling you that you’ll achieve your goals faster if you physically write them down. 😉
Not only do you need to write them, you need to SEE them. A visual is both a conscious and subconscious reminder to get yourself in the mindset to work towards your goals.
My favorite way to do this is through a vision board.
If this doesn’t appeal to you, you can do whatever tickles your fancy.
Write them on a white board.
Leave them on a notepad on your desk.
Litter your bathroom mirror with sticky notes of all your goals.
Truly, whatever works. The important thing is that they’re written down and incorporated into your everyday life!
Make an Action Plan
Time to plan your first steps!
Making an action plan involves actually structuring how you will realistically achieve your goal.
For example, say your goal is to run a 5k. Your action plan may include a day-by-day running schedule for building up your endurance.
Or maybe your goal is to get promoted at work. Your action plan could include specific work assignments you want to complete exceptionally well to prove your readiness for the promotion.
By constructing steps to eventually get to your main goal, you are that much more likely to achieve it.
In addition to your deadline that you set with your SMART goal, set other important dates. These can be deadlines for certain steps of your action plan or specific times to check in on your progress.
Setting a schedule helps keep you on track for achieving your goal (on time too!!).
Planning is GREAT. But planning only gets you so far…
So get to it!!
With the well laid out plan you just constructed, you will know just where to start… and there is no time like the present!
Allow Reflection and Reevaluation
As you go along, take some time to reflect on your progress and reorient yourself within your goal.
Are you on track?
Is there something that is working exceptionally well?
Has something proven to not work as well as you expected?
Did an unexpected obstacle come up that is prohibiting you from staying on track?
It is okay to allow yourself grace!
Life happens! Some things are out of your control! Allow yourself some flexibility here.
But do not make excuses!!
It is easy to turn grace-giving into excuse-making.
If something truly comes up, that’s fine! That’s life!
But if you find yourself searching for outside reasons why you aren’t on track, let’s be honest, you’re just making excuses.
Now that you know how to plan goals to set for yourself, you can start doing the work!
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With these tips, I am hopeful that you know just how to get started and set yourself up for success!