How to Begin the Goal-Setting Process
Make a list of general goals you have in a variety of areas, for example:
(a) do well in school or work,
(b) begin an exercise program,
(c) have fun, and
(d) visit my family more.
After listing your general goals, create a hierarchical list with (a) being most important to (d) being least important.
Assess Your Needs
After choosing the goal you most want to achieve, brainstorm all necessary factors that can influence your ability to achieve that goal. For example, if you want to start an exercise program, what is the specific long-term goal? (i.e., work out for 30 minutes per day for three days per week). This is where you would look to see that the goal is realistic, specific and measurable.
Plan a Route to Success
Next, write down the long-term goal and list the steps, or short-term goals, needed to achieve success. The progression would look something like the following example:
- Step one: assess general fitness level by making an appointment to see a physician
- Step two: find a place to work out
- Step three: start workouts at an easy pace, two days per week for 20 minutes
- Step four: increase time of workout as comfort level increases
- Step five: increase days of week and length of workout
- Final goal: work out three times per week for 30 minutes
It also is helpful to chart your progress. Create a calendar and document what you intend to do on a given day, and after the workout, document your actual achievements. You want to challenge yourself to work hard, but not push so hard that you never achieve the goal. If a goal is too difficult or too easy, you may be less inclined to try to achieve it and therefore it is important to assess the level correctly and change the goal as needed.
"The journey is the reward" (unknown); therefore, enjoy the process you take in achieving your goal. Setting a goal and trying to reach it is difficult and taxing at times, but the rewards are boundless. Goal-setting allows you to test your limits and demand more from yourself than you previously knew you had. It allows you to feel pride in accomplishing feats that once appeared to be out of reach. You can increase your self-concept by recognizing that you set a goal and you reached that goal because of your own effort, desire and motivation to succeed.