Why Goal Setting Matters
Goals setting is the foundation of administration. To administer means to attend to the running, overseeing or operation of a business or organization. If you want to create positive change in your life: financial, physical, educational, whatever it may be for you, life admin is critical to getting it all handled. Good admin works to break down big goal into a series of little goals that can be accomplished by a specific action or behavior.
Good Goals vs. Bad Goals
A good goal can become a win by doing one very specific thing, for example go to bed before midnight Monday through Friday.
A bad goal is go to the gym, eat breakfast every day, do taxes and go to bed before midnight every day for the next year.
Lets break that down: if my goal was to go to the gym I wouldn’t do it. I hate going to the gym. I could go to a class at a gym, I could meet a friend at the gym, I could have a session with a trainer at the fancy gym downtown. Going to the gym is too general of a term so without more specifics, to me, it sounds really crappy.
Examples of Good Goals
If my goal was to eat breakfast every day, I would know I wouldn’t do it. Sometimes just want tea. But if i’m taking a class, teaching or running around that is a different story. I will need the fuel and eating breakfast becomes an important goal. All I need to do to reach my goal is to hard boil a few eggs, buy yogurt, oatmeal and do some basic prep to have days worth of grab and go breakfasts. Good goals are incredibly specific and don’t involve a lot of complicated steps.
Meal prepping is something I have a lot of experience with, so making three breakfasts at one time is not a big deal. Prepping three days worth of breakfasts is an example of good goal involving a few simple actions. By setting specific goals, I am able to zero in on my priorities and identify the specific actions that can help me accomplish that particular goal.
Goal Setting Allows Preparation
Doing my taxes t was once something that gave me anxiety. After one particularly stressful tax session, I made it a goal to never stress like that about taxes again. Approaching tax time in an organized way has been critical to my success. The fact that I respect, trust and like my accountant is also a deliberate part of my process. Reducing tax time anxiety was my larger goal and I figured that I hated taxes because I didn’t feel prepared and wasn’t sure what to expect.
Now that I know how to prepare myself, I have broken down tax time into a series of goals that are easy to accomplish. By breaking down doing my taxes into specific goals, I am left with a series of actions: make appointment w/accountant, organize receipts, find last years return, go to my appointment, sign the papers, pay my taxes and pay accountant $200. The overwhelming goal of doing taxes is infinitely more manageable as a series of actions.
Good is Good Enough
There is no reason to expect 100% compliance on most goals. There are exceptions to those rules: certain goals in and of themselves demand 100% compliance (fidelity, sobriety, lack of criminal behavior, abuse, bullying, etc). Unless your personal goal demands 100% compliance due to nature of your old habits, expecting perfection is unnecessary.
A lot of benefit could be had by going to bed before midnight every day you have an an early morning. However life loves to get in the way. The failure to accomplish a goal in it’s entirety can feel like a discouraging setback. Good goals can involve compromise. Setting a goal for bedtime before midnight three nights a week can be more reasonable than doing so all week long.
Set Specific Goals
Get fit is a very general goal. The goals of an expectant mother are very different from a former college athlete looking to tone up. A bodybuilder is going to want a different diet than a high schooler looking to improve their acne. A moody former vegetarian who does Krav-Maga six days a week has vastly different needs that a 40-something suffering from depression and back pain. Words that describe an ideal example of fitness help to clarify and refins a very general terms into helpful and specific goals.
Goals Need To Be Scheduled
Lack of a timeline can be a huge obstacle. My example of update website is perfect here. Ok, so am I going to update my whole entire website in one day? When will that be? Do I need to ask for time off work? Should I rent an office for the day? Go to a coffee shop?????
Update the about page and publish it on Thursday is pretty specific. It is reasonable as while it contains two parts, updating it and publishing it: the parts are manageable. The steps I have to take have been done before so I know how much time it will take. Also, I know I will have time to do it Thursday because I have scheduled it in.
A goal to fit into my favorite pair of underwear and not feel like they are super tight is one of my favorite workout goals. Simple and effective, I will know when that has happened and I know that scheduling 3-4 days of yoga a week and avoiding sugar will pretty quickly do the trick.
Goals as Wins
The better you can become at setting specific goals that can be accomplished in a measurable amount of time, the easier it will be for you to move your goals into the win column. Celebrate your successes and stay committed even when facing a particularly challenging goal. Perhaps you can revisit the goal itself and further break it down in a way that makes it easier for you to accomplish.
I want to hear about your goals, so let me know what specific things you are looking to accomplish this week.