Seven Steps to Setting Goals
Think of something you want to do or work towards. It doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s something you want to do – ideally something you’re interested in or feel excited by. It should be something you want to do not something someone else wants you to do.
It can be a big thing or a small thing – sometimes it is easier to get going with something small. And it often helps if it’s something that’s just a little bit beyond what you currently can do – goals that stretch us can be motivating!
2. Write it down
Writing down our goals increases our chances of sticking with them. Write down how you will know you have reached your goals and when you’d like to have achieved it by.
- what it will ‘look’ like and how will you feel when you’ve done it?
- How does it connect to who or what you value in your life
Describe your goal in specific terms and timescales e.g. ‘I want to plant lettuces, carrots and peas in the empty patch in my garden by the end of May’ rather than ‘I want to do some gardening.’
Write your goals in terms of what you want, not what you don’t want. For example: ‘I want to be able to wear my favorite jeans again’, rather than ‘I don’t want to be over-weight anymore’.
3. Tell someone
Telling someone you know about our goals increases the likelihood that we will stick at them.
4. Break your goal down
This is especially important for big goals. Think about the smaller goals that are steps on the way to achieving your bigger goal. Sometimes our big goals are a bit vague, like ‘I want to be healthier’. Breaking these down helps us be more specific.
A smaller goal might be ‘go running regularly’ or even ‘to be able to run around the park in 20 minutes without stopping’. Write down your smaller goals and try to set dates to achieve them by.
Having several smaller goals makes each of them a bit easier and gives us a feeling of success along the way, which also makes it more likely that we’ll stay on track towards our bigger goal.
5. Plan your first step
An ancient Chinese proverb says that the journey of 1000 miles starts with one step. Even if your goal isn’t to walk 1000 miles, thinking about the first step on the way will really help to get you started. Even if you don’t know where to start there’s no excuse – your first step could be to research ‘how to…’ on the internet or think of people you could ask or to get a book on the subject from the library. Then think of your next step…and the next…
6. Keep going
Working towards our goals can sometimes be difficult and frustrating – so we need to persevere. If a step you’re doing isn’t working, think of something else you could try that still moves you forward, even a tiny bit.
If you’re struggling, ask people you know for their ideas on what you could do. They may help you see a different way. Thinking about different ways of reaching our goals makes it more likely we’ll be successful. If you’re really struck – take a break and then re-read the goal you wrote down when you started.
If you need to adjust your goal – that’s OK too. Think about another small next step and begin again.
When you reach your goal take time to enjoy it and thank those that helped you. Think about what you enjoyed and learned along the way.
Now, what is your next goal or project going to be?
Learn more about setting goals by enrolling in OIC Exit to Success program.