3 Things I’ve Learned About Goal Setting

I’ve always been the type to sit down at the end of the year and write down my big, lofty goals. This felt like a worthwhile, productive thing to do. But have I ever reached any of those goals? Certainly not as a result of a systematic approach to reaching them.

For my birthday last year, a good friend (who obviously knows me quite well) bought me a beautiful wellness planner that has space to record EVERYTHING related to health, including your food intake, water intake, exercise, and healthy habits. It also has space to write your goals; big, lofty goals, monthly goals, and even weekly goals. This was a game-changer for me.


I believe there are 3 important things to remember when trying to achieve your goals

1. Start by making sure your goals are SMART 

Most people have heard of the SMART acronym when it comes to goal setting:

S – Specific: what exactly do you want to accomplish?

M – Measurable: how will you know that you’ve accomplished it?

A – Attainable: is this something that you can actually achieve given your resources, knowledge and time?

R – Relevant: is reaching this goal actually something that is important to you?

T – Time-bound: by when will you achieve this goal?

And I truly believe that if you’re going to take the time to write out your goals, then you should probably make sure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound if you actually want to achieve them.

2. It’s not just about the big lofty goals, it’s also about the plan you make to get there.

Earlier this month, I attended a Goal Setting workshop and the facilitator introduced a new (to me) concept that there are three different types of goals: Outcome Goals, Performance Goals and Process Goals.

Outcome Goals are those big lofty goals – what you envision yourself achieving. For example: one of my Outcome Goals is to achieve my goal weight by July 2018.

Performance Goals are the smaller action items that help you achieve your Outcome Goals. For example: I am going to achieve my goal weight by eating better and exercising more regularly.

Process Goals really get down to the nitty-gritty – the baby steps that you’re taking each day that facilitate the Performance Goals and bring you closer to your Outcome Goals. For example, I am going to start eating better by doing meal prep, eating out less, and incorporating veggies into each meal of the day. I am going to exercise more regularly by scheduling my workouts, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and inviting friends to do activities with me.

So basically, your daily habits must be bringing you closer to your big, lofty goals and you can’t overlook the processes that will allow you to achieve your vision.

What I’ve done this month is tracked those daily habits in my planner, giving myself a check mark for each day that I’ve completed the habit. These include: exercised for at least 10 minutes, stretched for at least 10 minutes, meditated for at least 10 minutes, write in my journal and express gratitude, drink 8 glasses of water, included a serving of veggies at lunch, included a serving of veggies at dinner, and read my book. Tracking may not be for everyone, but it gives me the motivation to do some of these things when I otherwise would not.

3. Don’t just set it and forget it

Another thing I’ve learned about goal setting since getting this wellness planner is that you can’t just write down the thing you want to accomplish (whether it’s to run a marathon, lose 20 pounds, or write a book), and then just forget about it and expect to actually achieve it. You need to think about the things you need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis that will move you in the direction of achieving that goal. You need to revisit your big, lofty goals on a regular basis so you don’t lose sight of why you’re making this small, incremental changes. I now have my goals printed out and hanging on my fridge, in my office at work, and in my planner so they are never far from sight. It was really satisfying to check the first one off this month!

Is there anything you’ve learned about goal setting that has been a game-changer for you in terms of successfully achieving your goals? Please share!

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