How to Set Goals and Keep Them
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Most of us are pretty good at setting goals – but what about keeping them? I love goals and setting them helps me be a better parent, be more productive, get better results in my business… The list goes on! But from my experience, whether I keep a goal or not comes down to the goal itself. Here are five questions to ask yourself that will help you set goals and keep them!
Is This Goal Worth It?
The number one most important question to set goals and keep them! Is what I’ll gain actually worth the work I’ll have to do? Maybe you want to be a bodybuilder with 0% body fat and giant biceps… but is that actually worth the full-time training and limited diet to achieve it? If you said yes, that’s a good sign that you really do want to be a body builder. But for the rest of us, having a healthy body is a much more realistic goal, with way less effort needed. Make sure your goal is actually worth the work to you – and don’t be afraid to dial back your goals if you’re not really willing to keep up the work.
Does This Actually Matter to Me?
Next, think about whether the goal actually matters to you, or if you’re just feeling outside pressure. Let’s say your goal is to make $100,000 this year. Why is that your goal? If you feel driven to cross that six-figure threshold to pay off your debt or save for a new car, that’s great. But if you feel like you need to make that much in order to really “make it” as some sort of status symbol, you might want to rethink things. Especially if you were perfectly happy when you made eighty grand last year.
Will I Still Want This Goal Later?
Make sure you’re not wasting your valuable time on a passing fad, or worse, something you could really regret! Perhaps your goal is to travel more. So you travel to a few trendy places, like Tulum and Marrakesh. You have a pretty good time, but you wished you had spent more time with your family this year… and your budget is stretched thin when your car breaks down. Make sure your goals have staying power and fit in with the rest of your needs in order to set goals and keep them.
How Can I Work This Goal Into My Life?
Now it’s time to think about the daily work of making your goal a reality! What do you need to do, every day or week, to make this goal happen? Will you have the time, energy, and resources to commit to doing these small steps? For example, if your goal is to write a novel, you may imagine yourself sitting by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate, typing away… But most likely, you’re too busy to do that often! Maybe instead of writing 2,500 words every Saturday evening in front of the fire, you could write 500 every night before bed.
Why are small steps more successful that big ones to help you set goals and keep them? If you miss a weeknight of writing, you’ll miss out on 500 words… but if you miss out on one Saturday night because you want to go out to dinner, you’ll be set back a whole week’s worth of progress. Also, it’s easier to make small habits out of daily actions! Be flexible and make a plan that will help you make small amounts of progress often.
What Will My Life Look Like When I’m Done?
Imagine your life after you’ve completed your goal. How is it different? Is that difference enough to keep you motivated during the mundane, hard work of goal-keeping? If you are doubting it right now, you may want to reconsider whether your goal is truly worth it to you. But if you’re imagining that your life will be completely different, so much easier, 100% better… you might need a reality check!
As you make progress towards your goal, you may get discouraged when you find that your expectations were too high. My most recent goal was to give up gluten. I envisioned that it would cure my IBS and migraines, and help me lose weight too… And I was pretty disappointed when none of those things happened! Make sure that you’re keeping your expectations realistic. Because looking for small, incremental improvements will help you set goals and keep them!
So tell me: how do you set goals and keep them? Leave a comment below!
Ready for more peace in the new year? Pick up a copy of my devotional, Peace in the New Testament!
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