Help with Setting GoalsJust deciding to set a goal is the first step in a successful journey. If you need help with setting goals, you are in the right place. This page will at least get you started and heading in the right direction.
Make a PlanFirst you'll need to make a plan. You know what you want to accomplish, but how will you get there? The only way to answer this is by figuring out an exact plan. Set your goal high, but not too high that it can't be reached. You'll also want to set benchmarks as to where you should be at certain points.
For example, when I set an income goal I also set a date when it will be accomplished. I then work backwards from the finished goal to see where I should be at by certain dates. Then I break it down further, figuring out what needs to be done and how quickly to meet each of those smaller goals.
Another example would be for losing weight. If you want to lose 50 lbs, you need to give yourself enough time to safely lose that weight. Crash diets will get you nowhere. Since you can safely lose 2 lbs a week, it will take you 25 weeks to accomplish your goal. If you work hard you might end up finishing sooner, but do get yourself enough time to safely reach that goal. Weight loss can be an easy goal to plan for, especially if you are counting calories. See our page on a healthy weight loss plan for help on setting goals in weight loss.
Write It DownA goal is nothing if you don't write it down. This is a very important step. Use a journal or something you can easily keep track of. Write down your main goal, mini-goals (or benchmarks as they are often called), plans, and why you want to reach this goal. Writing it down helps you easily remember why you want to reach this goal, and what you have to do.
Keep a JournalWhile you don't have to keep a journal, it's a good idea. Setting up a blog is even better, since you are more likely to feel like you MUST keep up with it. When others are following your progress, it's harder to skip parts or stray too far from your goal.
Another way to keep yourself in check is to use dry erase boards. This is my favorite method of keeping track of goals, and actually I use more than one. One large dry erase board has the details of my goal and my benchmarks. I have what I want to accomplish by certain dates writen on it. The second dry erase board is mounted on my wall right next to my desk. It has the dates when I must get the tasks done to reach my first mini-goal, and what I have left to do. The third and final dry erase board has my daily tasks and reminders on it.
If you need more help on setting goals outside of journals or dry erase boards, you might want to think about joining specific groups focused on your specific goal. There are also online goals systems that can help you plan, keep track, and succeed.
Reward YourselfDon't forget to reward yourself after reaching those mini goals! It's important to give yourself a reward that doesn't hurt your long term goal though. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, don't reward yourself by eating a huge dinner or stuffing yourself with sweets. Instead chose something like going out to a movie or eatting out at a fancy restaurant.
If your goal is to save money, it may be hard to reward yourself without spending money. A better idea would be to take advantage of something free or discounted as a reward. For example, several years ago I joined a music club that offered free CDs to new members (I think we all have seen these). Every time I reached a mini-goal, I'd treat myself to a free CD. It wasn't completely free because I had to pay shipping, but it was very low cost.
Just keep in mind the idea behind setting goals is creating new habits and lifestyles. We all need rewards to keep us moving forward, but you shouldn't sacrifice all your hard work just to give yourself as a reward.
More Help with Setting GoalsAs mentioned before, you may need a little more help with setting goals. Seek out support groups or even online goals systems to make sure you meet your goals. Remember that your goals are going to take time, so it's important you not give up. Keep your goals in site, make your plans, and stick to them!
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