As I start off goal setting month, the best place to start is from the beginning, as I show how I set goals. If you have never done this before get a sheet of paper and write down what you want to achieve.
On the paper you will have a variety of ambitions. Some of mine were improving my 5k time, learning Photoshop and writing ‘something’.
This is random and needs organising – a bit like how a blogger puts his writing into appropriate categories. And so the next task is to develop 3 to 6 categories to store them under. So if you want to lose weight, do a triathlon and stop eating chocolate this will go under the category of fitness and nutrition.
This is how I started the Manifesto of Perfection, where I worked with:
These covered a broad definition – for example ‘Money’ covered my finances, my career and any ideas on making additional cash.
Other categories have been remained as my ambitions have changed (such as sex) and some, such as Projects have been removed due to it being too vague.
You may want to use similiar categories or you may have your own ideas. For me I now record all my goals into a table under Creativity, Fitness/Nutrition, Money and Relationships.
Once the goals are sorted (see here for an example) we have to decide how we are going to work through to achieving them. My preferred method is the SMART Analysis, but there are many other ways of approaching your goals.
Whatever method you choose, it should have the following:
- Clearly defined goal(s)
- How it will be achieved.
- Have a period of time when it will be completed/reviewed.
We have the goals organised, now surely it is time to get on with things? Not quite – if you have written these on a computer, print them out and put them somewhere you will see them everyday.
This is important because it is so easy to forget what has been set. I have focused on a couple of goals and completely forget about everything else. As a result I have felt pretty slack when the goals are reviewed.
To help with this buy a diary to record all positive and negative actions related to achieving the goals. This is evidence of work done and it great to flick through to see how progression has gone.
We have worked towards our set goals – we have managed to lose a few pounds and we finally joined a dating site. Things are going great, so what next?
At this point, you should establish a review date. I prefer every 3 months – it is long enough to give the goals a good effort, but short enough so that action can be taken to move things forward or address problems.
Here you ask the tough questions – could I lose weight more effectively? How can I get more responses to the messages I send? Do I really want to learn flower arranging?
Once these have been gone through update your goals, to reflect your needs. These don’t need to be changed completely, just think how you can go another step further.
- Don’t worry about setting too many goals, its better to do too much and not enough.
- Goals that get neglected or ignored can be changed.
- Or they can be removed altogether – goal setting is a great process for finding who you really want to be!
- Don’t feel bad at ‘failing’ or making a lack of progress – it’s all a learning experience, reflect what went wrong, decide how you will improve and move on.
I have given you a basic guide in how to set goals in your self-improvement journey. From my experience you will learn a lot and you will feel great that you don’t spend your evenings watching TV anymore.