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This is the time of year that always confuses me. I see so many well intentioned people out there get excited by the prospects of a fresh new year. They set their goals, they start off … and they are lucky if they make it past the first month.

Maybe you’ve fallen off the strict regimen you set for yourself in the first part of the month. Or maybe you’ve given up on the goals you’ve set for this year.

Let’s face it: goals can be hard to keep day in and day out.

If you have set goals in the past and come up short, or just flat out abandoned them, you aren’t alone. When it comes to goal setting you can use the SMART Goals method (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound) to start out, but here are a few other things I always consider before setting a goal. Doing this allows me to pick better goals and helps me stay with them.

Don’t Rush into a Goal – Think it Through

Think it through! Rather than spit out the obvious things that everyone does like:

  • Lose weight,
  • Make more money
  • Save more money
How to Pick Better Goals

How to Pick Better Goals

Think about the goal you want. Really think about it. Try it on to see how it fits. Walk around with it for a few days, or even a week. Think of what you would need to do to make that goal a reality.

If you aren’t willing to work more hours, commit to a new business, or start a side hustle, then don’t set a goal of earning more money.

Don’t want to eat better and exercise? Then don’t set a goal to lose weight.

This will avoid setting yourself up for failure. This is a vicious cycle I see with so many people when I start coaching them. They have gotten into the habit of setting goals they aren’t able to achieve because they don’t want to put the work in.

This in turn wrecks havoc on your self-esteem.  Then the next time you try and set a goal, you have a little voice saying “Really?! You didn’t do it LAST time.”PLEASE STOP THE CYCLE!

Remember we set goals to achieve them and feel/be successful.

Think it through and try it out. Your self esteem will thank you.

Come up with a reward system

Goals, especially huge, monstrous, OMG-I-can’t-believe-I-set-this goals, take time. Somewhere along the line you are likely to run out of steam.

That’s normal!

The best way around this is to plan for it in the beginning. What will happen when you have a bad day/week/month? How will you get back fighting the good fight?

The best way to keep on track that I know of is to celebrate the little victories as they come up. It’s a great plan to have some type of reward system in place. Something that you do to celebrate your little wins along the way.

It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does need be to celebrated.  After all you deserve it!

Ask yourself: Can I be the person that accomplishes this goal?

Real goals, are something that will stretch you. They are designed to make you a better version of yourself.  If it’s something that comes naturally to you, then it’s not a stretch goal.

Take on something that will improve yourself. If you are looking for some financial goals we have a great post here.

To do that you will need to change in some way. Remember the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Hitting any financial goal is going to take some (or a lot) of effort and change on your part. Can you be the type of person that achieves this goal? Are you ready for that change?

For instance: I would love to have an Olympic Gold Medal. But when I think of the training regimen, diet, and sacrifices that would be required to earn that, I know it’s not something I’m willing to do. (That and on the rare occasion I’ve been out of breath tying my shoes). So I’m not setting that goal. I’m just not that person. That’s ok.

What kind of person are you trying to become?

This is what trips up a lot of people. They are setting themselves up for failure from the start. They set a goal, but aren’t willing to put in the necessary work involved with that goal. How can you expect to save half of your income (Goal), when you aren’t willing to cut any expenses or work any extra to earn more?

Before you get started really think if you are willing to be the person who can achieve this goal. Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices? Can you go the distance when things get difficult? If so, and you are ready, you have found a goal that is worth taking on. Congratulations!

In Closing

By setting yourself up in advance and thinking things through, you will cut out the goals that don’t really resonate with you. Most importantly you will be able to take on goals that you know you are willing to stick with through the inevitable hard times that are around the corner. Now get out there and take action.

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