Goal Setting

I love goals. Mostly because I get to make lists (I really love lists) and partly because it feels amazing when you accomplish a goal.

Short term goals are the easiest. They take little to no planning and can be instantly or near instantly gratifying. Long term goals on the other hand require a plan (or plans) and lists (😍). They usually take a little discipline and a whole lot of patience. In the end it is all worth it. We hope.

Before I became a stay at home mom, I worked for my local health department district as a home visitor. Meaning, I went into the homes of parents and offered information on parenting and resources in the community. But something else we did was set goals. This is where I learned the best strategy for accomplishing monstrous goals.

So how do you meet those huge, daunting, long term goals? Simply, of course.

Weight loss is probably the #1 goal people set. The problem with that is they say “I want to lose 20 pounds.” But in all honesty, losing weight is hard and that is a lot of hard work. So the first rule of goal setting is…

Break it down.
We live for the here and now. We like instant gratification. We can’t help it. So the best way to accomplish a big goal–like losing 20 pounds–is to break it down into small (tiny, even) steps that will give us results now and keep us moving forward towards the ultimate goal.

For example, instead of saying I want to lose 20 pounds–or any amount of weight–think about the small changes you can make to just be healthier in general. Do you drink a lot of soda? Cut back. Then cut back more and more until you don’t anymore. Take a walk once a week. Then twice the next week. Then three times the week after that. Then start walking longer. Small steps. Baby steps that push you closer to the end game.

Make it measurable.
Abstract doesn’t usually work very well with goal setting. If you say you want to walk more, how do you know when you have met your goal? If you walk once instead of not at all? Then are you done because you technically walked more? If you make it specific and measurable (walk for 30 minutes, twice a week) you know when you have accomplished a step in your goal.

Celebrate.
Reward yourself. Every step is one step closer to your long term goal and it deserves a celebration. And when you take a step back, because you will…

Don’t give up.
Reevaluate your goal and the steps you have broken it down into. Was it too much to take on? Is there something else holding you back that should be addressed first? Sometimes you end up going in a different direction, and that’s okay. The great thing about goals is that they can change. But if it is what you really want–don’t give up.

Do you have any tips for reaching goals? Tell me about it.

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