Setting Effective Goals

If you don’t know what you really want, how in the world are you going to get it?  You need to set goals in such a way that you know exactly what you are working to achieve, you can measure your progress along the way, and the goals must be realistic, considering who you are and the life you lead. Here are some tips to get you started setting effective goals that will get you where you want to go.

Set specific goals: Rather than say, “I want to get in shape,” specify or detail exactly what you want.  A more specific way of setting goals is to say, “I want to reduce my waist measurement by 3 inches and increase my strength and flexibility.”

Set measurable goals: How will you measure your progress?  Rather than say, “I want to walk more and get in better cardiovascular condition,” say, “I want to walk two miles every day at a rate of 15 minutes per mile.”  The progress of this goal can be easily measured, as the goal itself is worded in such a way that you can track your progress.

Set attainable goals: The kiss of death for most people is biting off more than they can chew. You have to set a goal that will challenge you, but not defeat you.  Be realistic about who you are, the constraints on your life, and what you are willing to do (or not.) 

Most people drop out of an exercise program when they feel overwhelmed, in over their heads, or doomed to fail.  If you set the lofty goal of going to the gym five days a week at 6 AM knowing that you are not a morning person, you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration.

If you are juggling three kids, two pets, one spouse (and a partridge in a pear tree), perhaps it is not realistic to commit to the same exercise program that your single friend at work is doing.

Realistically look at yourself (and your life) and set goals that you know you can attain with some effort.  It is better to set the bar slightly lower and succeed than it is to shoot too high and fail.

Success begets success.  It is fun to succeed, and success will keep you going on the days when you are not really feeling in the mood to continue.

Set specific, measurable, attainable goals, and be sure to set new goals as you see yourself approaching the finish line. You should always be working toward something.  You are not done until you are dead.

Live with Simplicity,