Last week I set some 10 goals for myself. I did pretty well in meeting those goals. However, it became clear to me that my goals weren't well written. They lacked detail and clarity. Saying I will eat healthy snacks isn't a well written goal.
Now I don't want to be overly zealous about all this, but I do need to consider some parameters. There is a common acronym for goal setting that says your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. I like Michael Hyatt's definitions, so let's take a look at how he makes goals smart.
Measurable—as the old adage says, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” If possible, try to quantify the result. You want to know absolutely, positively whether or not you hit the goal.
Actionable—every goal should start with an action verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate,” etc.) rather than a to-be verb (e.g., “am,” “be,” “have,” etc.)
Realistic—you have to be careful here. A good goal should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense. I go right up to the edge of my comfort zone and then step over it. (If I am not out of my comfort zone, I’m not thinking big enough.)
Time-bound—every goal needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that goal? It could be by year-end (December 31) or it could be more near-term (September 30). A goal without a date is just a dream. Make sure that every goal ends with a by when date.
Another (simpler way) to look at goals is to answer the question ... what do I want to do? After answering that question, the next step is to plan a strategy to do that. For example - What do I want to do? Eat low calorie foods or fruit for my snacks every day this week. The plan for doing that then becomes a recurring task on my to-do list. It may look something like this Every night after dinner I will prepare 2 healthy snacks for the next day. This may include checking the store-bought stash of snacks, peeling or slicing fruit, or measuring out and packaging items in portion controlled containers.
Either approach takes time and planning. I like to think it's worth it because I'm aligning my actions with my values and the living the life I want to live, which is pretty darn nice. Time to go plan some goals.