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What Is A Good Goal?
The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
We’re fast approaching that time of year! The time of year when we start ruminating over what could have gone better this year, and, more importantly, what we’re going to do about it next year!
As you know, I’m a huge fan of setting goals and have learned a few useful points since 2015 when goal setting became one of my favourite activities. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at what is a good goal and how you can set about setting some good personal goals for next year.
What Is A Good Goal?
The first thing to recognise is that a ‘good’ goal is entirely personal. It’s completely pointless trying to copy other people’s goals, unless you have a burning desire to achieve something similar to them. Anything less than that, and you’ll become demotivated and give up.
But sometimes it’s hard to actually know what we want to achieve. Yes, we may have some loose ideas about wanting to get fitter, save some money or pay down debt, go on holidays or improve a relationship with a loved one.
But, with so many vague ideas to choose from, we can become overwhelmed and either just give up or choose the most obvious, but not necessarily the most desirable goal.
So, as a first task, spend some time working out what you actually want to do, be and have next year. This post will help:
Related Post: How to Set Big Goals
Or you can get my eBook on Kindle Ignite Your Motivation which fully covers the goal setting process.
Be Congruent With Your Values
That’s just fancy words for what basically means choosing goals that are important to you, rather than goals that you think other people would like you to do.
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
Working on your goals will stimulate personal growth, so you need to make sure that this is an area of your life where you want to expand, develop and move outside your comfort zone.
Remember, working on your goals can be hard. It’s hard to find the time, the commitment, the money (sometimes), the ongoing motivation etc. However, if you’re working towards something that is important to you, then you’re far more likely to stick with it to fruition.
Get Inspired and Really Feel the ‘Pull’
Let’s not get too fluffy here! Working on your goals can be a challenge. We will meet with obstacles, from those within to those outside of ourselves. Even the really enjoyable things (like, in my case, travelling) can be tiring!
Consequently, it’s very important that your goals have the capacity to inspire you into action.
This might not be in and of itself, however, your inspiration might come from the reason you want to achieve your goal. This is also known as your ‘why’.
~> Goal – get promotion at work. Why – to give my family a better standard of living.
~> Goal – to learn a foreign language. Why – to be able to work with disadvantaged children abroad.
~> Goal – to travel as a couple regularly. Why – to reconnect as adults, to have shared experiences.
So, when you’re thinking about the goals you want to achieve, spend some time also thinking about why you want to achieve them. Then consider…is this ‘why’ strong enough to keep you going through the tough times?
Be Careful To Avoid Goal Conflicts
In the rush of enthusiasm which cheers us along at the beginning of the year, it can be easy to fall into the trap of setting many goals. But, without careful consideration it’s likely that some of them will inevitably conflict.
- For example, if you have a goal to increase your savings by 10, 15, 50 (choose your own ratio) % next year, then simultaneously attempting to overpay debt is contradictory and likely to lead to stress and failure.
- Or, maybe you would like to improve your baking skills and intend taking a class in baking. At the same time you’d like to lose some weight. In this case, for me at least, it would require a huge amount of willpower to avoid eating my delicacies and so my weight control goal would be sabotaged.
So, be careful to choose which one of each option is most important to you and attack that one first.
The Importance of Time
As a general rule, expect things to take longer than planned! In most cases, obstacles will crop up that you didn’t anticipate, there will be new things to learn, you might have to wait on others, etc etc.
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
For these reasons, it’s important to consider a timeframe that works for you. In other words, consider the size of the goal you’re working on and map out some milestones. Challenge and flex those milestones by asking ‘what if’ questions.
~> What if I needed more money?
~> What if I struggle to understand at first?
~> What if I can’t get the time off work?
Having done this, consider whether the time it’ll take to achieve the goal is still realistic, or whether you need to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks so that you can see and celebrate progress at regular intervals.
Click for Books from Amazon to Support Your Goals
Is it SMART?
Finally, a nod towards the SMART acronym, which is a well used management tool for setting goals. If you haven’t come across it before, it stands for:
Achievable / Actionable
Timebound (ie, has a deadline)
This is a useful acronym for checking your goals for each of these points. For example, are you able to specify the actions you’ll need to take to get started? Have you set a deadline? Is it realistic (my least favourite, by the way, as I prefer to stretch myself!).
Here’s an article which specifically talks about SMART and how to apply each one.
So in summary, when you’re thinking about what is a good goal, here are the key points to consider:
~> Is it personal to you and agrees with your values (all you hold dear)?
~> Will it inspire you into action?
~> If you have more than one goal (recommended), do any of them conflict?
~> Have you been overly optimistic or pessimistic about the time it will take?
~> Have you applied the SMART test?
I hope you enjoy this article and find it useful for setting your goals. If you want more structured help with goal setting and achievement, please get in touch so we can work together towards your brighter future!