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Last week I talked about change and how to go about making a change in your habits.  Today I thought I’d continue that theme by talking about goal setting. I am a believer in having lots of goals. Most of my goals are short-term and very achievable. I love that because short-term goals are usually easily achieved. What do I do when I achieve my goal? Reward myself, of course!

When you are thinking about setting goals for yourself work backwards. Start with the end in mind. By what date do you want to have completed this goal. Be realistic and honest with yourself. If the goal is huge and daunting you might never achieve it – that is self-defeating. Instead why not break that goal down into small chunks and set completed by (or achieved by) dates for each chunk. After you have set the completed by date list all the steps you need to take to arrive at your goal – reminder you are still working backwards. Now set a start date. Before you actually start pick a reward. What will you get for achieving this goal? Is it a tangible reward or an intrinsic one? One of my favorite rewards is a movie afternoon or evening. I love going to the movies and I don’t get there often enough so that is a wonderful reward for me.

Now, you’ve picked your goal and made sure that it is realistic. You’ve set a finished by date and a start date. You’ve listed the steps to take to accomplish the goal. You have a reward in mind. Your final step in this process is to get out your calendar and plan when you are going to take all these step toward your stated goal. Once you have the steps scheduled into your calendar you may need to reassess your completed by date. Sometimes we have a tendancy to over-schedule ourselves or think we can actually fit one more thing into our day. Be kind to yourself. If you really want to make this happen, it has to work within the confines of your other responsibiities. Allow a little flex room, sometimes things just crop up.

Take another look at the start date, the scheduled steps, and your end date. Are you being realistic? Do you have a little wiggle room there? If so, pick your reward and then get started.