Friday, October 14, 2011

Free Friday: Setting Goals

Last Friday, I talked about the time killer, Procrastination.  As a follow-up to that, I'd like to discuss one of the enemies of procrastination, Goal Setting.  While goal setting is something that has been going on in human behavior for thousands of years in some form or another, it's only been examined and marketed in the last century.  Nowadays, you can find websites, books, classes, seminars, and personal coaches to help you set and achieve your professional and personal goals.

At a personal level, goal setting is fairly basic, because the goals are based on your desires.  No one else can tell you what you should achieve in your life (unlike the goals of a company which are dictated by upper management or owners).  Of course, if you are in a relationship with another person, some of your goals may have to be modified to accommodate the other person.  Ultimately, however, your goals should be based on your personal needs and aspirations.

If you've never used goal-setting, start off with just a couple of easy goals.  For example, decide that you want to include green leafy vegetables in at least one meal every day.  Give yourself a couple of weeks to implement it.  Write down your target date, tasks you need to do to accomplish it, any obstacles you might come across and how to overcome those obstacles.  Every day, keep track of your progress, learning from mistakes and successes.  Beating yourself up is always counter-productive, so don't do it.

Once you get into the habit of setting, keeping track of and reaching smaller goals, you should begin to write down some long-term goals.  Losing fifty pounds, saving $5000 and getting a degree in nutrition are just a few examples of long-term goals.  Be realistic with the time frame on these goals, giving yourself enough time to complete it.  Also, break large goals up into chunks or mini-goals.  For example, break the fifty pounds down into tens and shoot for each ten pounds in a smaller period.  When you are keeping track of your progress, notice which tasks work better than other tasks.  If you fail to accomplish a certain task, pick it up again the next day.  Persistence is key, but be gentle with yourself.

Overtime, using goal setting as a tool to accomplish things can change your attitude and behavior.  Certain things will become easier and you will notice that success will start to spill over into other areas of your life.  If it makes it easier, join an online goal-setting site.  I recently joined, a free goal-setting website that gives you articles, videos and book suggestions for each of your personal goals.  You can also join groups and find friends that have similar goals for encouragement and challenges.  Whatever you decide to do, make it fun and change it up frequently, so you don't get bored.  You can do it!  Be healthy!

Mystic Merman

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