On Your Mark, Get Set...Goal
Submitted by: bbell 12/20/2010 2:48:57 PM
On Your Mark Get Set...
Goal Setting- Getting to the finish line?
Setting goals can be very simple if you feel you want to make a change in some aspect of your life. Many times, goal setting is used to define the intention and then to organize our routine and monitor progress. The monitoring process can provide the much needed feedback as we tend to make adjustments in our routine along the way to make sure we stay focused on reaching our goal.
Each individual may have their own methods of reaching their goals but there are some key steps to think about along the way to save you both time and energy.
The New Year is a good time to prioritize the goals you would like to reach in the coming year. There are many theories and models to help with defining and reaching goals, the following diagram lists the basic steps in the goal setting process.
Setting Your Goals (Print your goal setting and goal summary worksheet to get started.)
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Prioritize: It is easier to achieve a goal when you really want it, when it means a lot to you or holds value for you. What is it you want to be able to do, achieve or see happen over the coming year? Simply the act of making a list encourages introspection, to indentify areas for growth, improvement or achievement.
- Make a list of the top 5 items or ideas and set them aside for a few hours and come back to the list in a few hours or the next day.
Return to the list. It is likely that you have now spent some time thinking about this list and what is important to you. Would you add anything to the list? Would you take anything away? Rewrite the list adding or subtracting.
- Prioritize. Using a scale of 1-5, Rank the items on your list by level of importance to you (1= less importance, 5= most important). Write down the top 3 goals by level of importance.
- Measure success: Some of your goals undoubtedly will be difficult to achieve. Difficult does not mean impossible. It is important to be confident that you can achieve your goal. Distinguish between the inability to achieve a goal versus having a lower level of confidence that one will achieve a goal.
For instance, your goal may be to exercise 5 days a week and you have not been successful with this goal in the past. That does not mean you are unable to do so this time around you’re your confidence may be lower that you will succeed. Your confidence level and chance of success will improve if you take a different approach such as the steps used here. This is different than the person who wants to do something that they simply cannot do such as walk 3 miles a day when balance does not allow them to walk or puts them at great self- harm.
- Set your confidence. Rank your 3 goals in order of your confidence or ability to achieve them with help and support.
- Select your goal. Redefine your goal. You now have 3 goals to choose from. If you are lucky your most important goal is also the one that you are most confident about. If not, you may wish to chose the one that you have the greatest level of confidence in achieving. Alternatively you may wish to go for the gusto and focus on the goal that means the most to you no matter how hard it may be.
- Make your selected goal realistic. Rework your goal to better meet the reality of your situation and abilities.
- Be Specific. Set a measurable concrete goal such as walking 5 times a week, exercising 150 minutes per week, losing 10 pounds in 6 months or eating 2 extra servings of fruit or vegetables a day. Then it will be easy to set up your action plan, measure and graph your progress.
- Develop an Action Plan. The next step is to decide how you will reach your goal? What do you need to be successful? Do you have everything you need to get started? Where do you need a little more help? Do you need to break your goal down into smaller easier achieved goals rather than one big goal? Can you partner with someone to help you stay motivated? Should your illicit help from family, support group, doctors or other healthcare providers?
- Write down the steps you need to take to achieve your goal?
- Include what you will do on a daily basis, weekly basis and monthly basis
- Decide how you will keep track of your achievements
- Have a plan in place in the event that your goal slips out of sight to bring it back into focus.
- Monitor and Adjust. It is important to write down your progress, share and talk about it with others and review you progress on a weekly basis. Simply having to write something down will increase your level of commitment and accountability to yourself and others.
- Graph your results. This keeps the goal fresh on your mind, reinforces its importance to you and gives you helpful feedback and can motivate you further.
- Get help if you have trouble staying on track.
- Rework your strategy if needed.
Author: Monique Giroux, MD and Sierra Farris, PAC