Tag Archives: Goals

Start Where You Are – Setting Goals You Can Achieve

Start Where you Aree

Perfect for the start of a new year – start where you are.

Goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not do something.

Some people set goals, some people set resolutions for the new year, and some people do both. For me, the connotation of “resolution” is different from goal – or at least it can be.  For me a resolution is a “New Year’s Resolution,” something set for what you want to do in the new year (or even stop doing in the new year).  A goal, on the other hand, can be a longer-range activity.  Perhaps there is no real difference or my interpretation is wrong.  At any rate, I have personally found it more helpful to set goals rather than resolutions.

To set my goals (long term and short term), I consider different areas of my life:

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Soul or Spirituality
  • Financial
  • Family
  • Social
  • Community
  • Work
  • Self-Development
  • Miscellaneous

I also consider both long-term and short-term goals.  I don’t like to look too far ahead so I might set five-year goals, three-year goals, and one-year goals.  Those can all typically be broken down into smaller goals, which will be easier to work into monthly goal lists, as well as weekly goal lists.

Once goals are broken down like that, it is easy (or easier) to see what steps can be taken daily to move closer to achieving goals.

Things to remember when setting goals:

  • Make sure you have goals that will make you stretch.  If they are all immediately do-able, you won’t feel you’ve really achieved anything once you’re done.
  • Make sure that you are fairly reasonable.  For example, if you are 40 and out of shape, the goal “Become an NFL running back” isn’t really something you can expect to accomplish.
  • Keep your goals where you can see them regularly.  It can help keep you motivated.
  • Review weekly or at least monthly to see any progress you’ve made, and also to determine where you need to refocus.
  • Reward yourself for achievements, even if it is a small reward.
  • Set goals that motivate you – if you aren’t motivated by them, you won’t work hard to achieve them or even follow through on them.
  • Have someone hold you accountable – basically, TELL someone what your goals are and have them check with you periodically.
  • Keep your goals written down.  Just the act of writing them down reinforces your goals.



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Setting Goals for Yourself

I’ve found that I am much more productive if I set concrete goals for myself at different levels: weekly, monthly, and yearly. I also tend to have a few longer-term goals than that, such as earning my college degree, but they do tend to be fewer. I’ve found that if I start with long term goals, I can usually break them into smaller steps, then break them down again as much as I need to in order to get them to more manageable size.

For example, I am working toward my college degree. I started this years ago, but got sidetracked when I left the engineering program I was in; I got caught up in day to day life. So, about 4 years ago, I set the goal of finally completing my degree.

Then I broke it down into steps:

  1. Go to community college and take a few classes to see if I could really settle down and be serious about this.
  2. Determine what I want to study.
  3. Find out what is required to graduate with a 2-year degree in that and start classes.
  4. Talk to an advisor about my course of action and the required courses and ensure that my major will transfer to a four-year school.
  5. Break down semester which courses I need and take them.
  6. Find out what I need to do to transfer to the four-year school and then do it.

This sounds obvious, but it isn’t always: take a really big goal and break it down into steps. Think of it this way: “What can I do to work toward that this year? How about by month? How about each week?” It can make overwhelming goals easier to face and to achieve.

Something else to think about is setting goals for different parts of your life. I’ve got goals for education, my spiritual life, my family life, self-improvement, physical fitness, emotional well-being, and so on. Think of different areas of your life that you would like to improve and set goals for each. They certainly don’t have to be major life-changing goals like getting a college degree or changing careers; they could be as simple as “read a classic book once a month” or “learn to cook one new healthy recipe a week.”

Sites that I’ve found that may be useful:

  • 43 Things (one of my favorites)
  • My Goals (I haven’t actually used this site but it sounds interesting)

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Filed under College, Goals