Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to set a good goal

All over the net I see people setting goals, whether it's finances or personal we’re all working towards something. Setting goals is great – I do it all the time. I’m a big list maker, I see each item as a mini goal for the day; although, I never get the whole list done, it seems my pen is bigger than my energy level. Still I do love to cross things off when they’re completed.. I mean who doesn’t right?

This year like most I set a few new year resolutions for 2008
- Pay off our credit card debt… check
- Read 50 books in 08
We were really focused on paying off the cards but not so much with reading books. This is where the problem started.
To date I have read 12 books in 2008. That means I have 38 books to go for an average of 9.5 books each remaining month in 2008. I think we can bet I won’t be crossing this goal off on December 31st. But why?

It wasn’t a lack of books that kept me from readings as you can see from just one library sale. It was because I didn’t follow the golden goal setting rules. I know these rules, but by failing to implement them I allowed my goal to fail. It was the end of August before I realized how far I was from my 50 book goal. By not running the stats when the goal was started I had no idea how many 50 books in a year really was.

::The Rules of Goal Setting::

Setting a goal and then creating smaller goals to help accomplish your main goal is a smart way to finish everything on your upcoming '09 resolution list. I think it's safe to say we all set big New Years resolutions only to see a portion of them fail. How many people say: “I want to lose 30 pounds this year” and then do nothing to help their goal along? What about eating healthier or exercising? If I could wish away the pounds you can bet I’d weigh 120.

First Step: As a mental point when creating a goal always use strong action words: I will, can etc. Using strong accomplished words is an easy way to help get your mind on the right track.
Example of a better goal: “I will lose 30 pounds this year.”

But just saying it isn’t enough for the pounds to fall of you must set yourself up to succeed by supporting the goal with mini goals.

Step Two:
Using defined ranges for your goals will help bring them into perspective and make you more aware of what needs to be done in order to accomplish them.

For example a goal of: “Walk the dog more” is pretty open. If you walked the dog once in 07 and twice in 08 you’ve technically reached your goal, but probably not like originally intended.

After using this rule our weight goal will now look like this:
“I will lose 30 pounds this year by eating 1200 to 1500 calories a day and exercising 3 times a week (mon/wed/fri).”

Now that you’ve set your reasonably defined goal find a way to track it and keep yourself accountable. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach milestones. For example with our chosen goal you could reward yourself after losing every 5 pounds or after exercising every day your suppose to for a month. It's all up to you.

In my situation had I had the number and known I needed to read about 4 books each month I could have easily completed this goal. Now if only I can follow my own advice in 09.
Lets see how it will work:
“In 2009 I will read a minimum of 50 books by averaging at least 4 a month.”

To help me reach this goal I plan to write down every book I read and reward myself with a special treat (dinner out, movie, free time) each time I hit a mini goal. I'll do a small reward for each month I read 4 books and a larger goal if I hit the half way mark on time.

What will your 2009 resolutions be and how do you plan to help yourself accomplish them?