This systematic and concise way of approaching goal setting and developing your goals will give you a much greater and better chance of achieving them.
You might have the goal of “improving your life.” But if you keep the goal that vague, it’s likely that no meaningful progress will be made. This first step is about getting clear on what it is you want to improve. Let’s take “getting into shape” as an example.
While “getting into shape” is much better as it specifies the way your life will improve, it’s still too vague, so we need to go to the next step.
The problem with the goal of “getting into shape” is that there’s no way to tell whether you’ve been successful or not. In order to fix this you need to find something to measure that will determine your success. So in our example, let’s say the person decides they want to lose 25 lbs.
“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” ~ Lord Kelvin.
On to the next step.
Actionable (provides the path/means to achieve the goal)
The goal now is to lose 25 lbs. This is getting better, but the problem is that there are no actionable steps associated with it. So if you were to keep your goal in this state, you’d sit around with a clear destination, but no clear path on how to get there!
So our person – let’s call him Bob – decides he is going to exercise to lose the weight. Bob realizes this is too vague, so he makes it more specific by deciding he is going to lose weight by walking and eating better. Bob make this plan measurable and ends up with the following goal:
“Lose 25 lbs by walking four times a week for an hour at a time and not eating any processed junk food.”
It’s easy to get carried away when making our goals, but we need to be honest with ourselves over what we are actually going to do. We’d all like to think that we could lift six times a week and meditate three hours a day, but it’s very likely that we’d have to work up to something like that (or never be able to achieve it at all). If you think you can take on something this big, go for it, but a lesser goal actually accomplished is worth far more than marginal success with a lofty goal.
So after thinking things over, Bob decides he was a bit too ambitious and changes his goal to:
“Lose 15 lbs by walking four times a week for 30 minutes at a time and not eating any processed junk food except for one candy bar every Friday.” (bold indicates a change from the previous format of the goal)
The last thing you need to do is set a time limit on your goal. Otherwise, you can always tell yourself “I’ll lose that 15 lbs eventually, I’ve got a goal!” as you eat your third candy bar on a Tuesday.
So the final form of the goal is:
“Lose 15 lbs in 11 weeks by walking four times a week for 30 minutes at a time and not eating any processed junk food except for one candy bar every Friday.”
Video links that may help you.