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5 Tips for Setting Realistic Goals

tips on setting goals

Yesterday I wrote about why I think setting goals is a healthy thing. I do realize that some people don't like goals because they make them feel overwhelmed, too pressured, or a failure. Setting achievable and realistic goals can be a tricky thing, but with the few tips below, you'll be well on your way! I am in no way a master goal maker, but I've developed some ways to make sure my goals don't overwhelm or discourage me.

Think about goals for each role that you play in life
When I wrote my post on fall goals, you may have noticed that I had a goal for each area of my life- I had a goal for my job, a goal for my personal/social life, a goal for my blog, and a goal for my church life. Thinking of my life in certain categories- nurse, wife, friend etc. actually helps me set specific goals for each of those roles I play. That's not to say that each role I have has a certain goal, but by thinking of goals in these terms, I'm able to come up with a balanced range of goals.

Make your goals realistic
I think a lot of times the reasons goals or resolutions fail is that they're not very realistic. Your resolution is to workout 6 days a week at 6am when you haven't been working out at all? Please let me know how that's going in February. If your goal was to work out 2 days a week at 6am and then gradually increase, then you're probably going to have lot better results and your goal will be much more sustainable.

Goals are there to motivate us, but sometimes we need to keep our lofty ideas under control a little better. Starting slowly and building up to your final goal is usually a lot more effective and productive. If you feel like a goal you have is maybe too lofty, take it down a notch- you'll be more likely to achieve it, and if you supersede it-great! I always try to have my goals on the lower side of realistic- a number or measure that will still motivate me, but that won't be so unattainable that I get discouraged. If you're not sure if your goals are realistic, run them by someone- your friend, your spouse, your mom- and see what they think. Sometimes a little outside perspective is needed to develop some realistic achievable goals.

Make your goals measurable 
Creating measurable goals is the vital component in making your goals achievable and realistic. It can be hard to make a goal measurable, but it can be done. For example, if you are looking to grow your blog, maybe instead of just saying "grow your blog", put a specific number on it. For me, that meant giving myself a specific goal of how many times to post in a week. For you that may be participating in a certain amount of linkups, sponsorships etc. Whatever the goal is, make it measurable by adding a number, time frame, or something else that can help you see more concrete progress to your goal.

Be accountable to someone
Finding someone to hold you accountable to your goals is key to succeeding. For me, my accountability partner has been you, the blog world. That may seem silly to many because I know none of you are going to come hunt me down if I don't finish all my goals, but at the same time knowing that people are reading my goals and the outcome of those goals is enough accountability to keep me motivated.

Maybe you need an in-person accountability partner. Grab a friend and suggest that you make some goals together (not the same goals, you just each make your own goals and hold each other accountable to them); share your goals with your spouse and see if they'll hold you accountable. Find someone to report to- it will increase your motivation ten fold.

Give yourself a measure of grace
In all goal setting there is much to be said about giving yourself a measure of grace. No matter how hard you try to set realistic and achievable goals, sometimes they just won't happen. And that's okay. Goals that are unfinished can always be goals for the next season or next year. It's not a failure, it's just something to be continued.

Out of my five goals this past fall, I really didn't accomplish two of them. That means I barely accomplished half of my original goals, but I was okay with that. The three goals I did accomplish had kept me really busy and I felt good about what I had accomplished. By focusing on what I did achieve instead of on what I didn't achieve, I was able to be okay with not accomplishing two of my five goals.Those two goals I didn't finish are rolling into my goals for winter of 2015 and I'm perfectly okay with that.

Focus on the goals you do accomplish rather than the ones that you didn't, and remember that it's okay if they're not all done in the time frame you wanted them done. Life happens, give yourself enough grace to be okay with that.

What are some ways that you make realistic, achievable goals for yourself?  
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