Goal Setting 101

Hi everyone!  Now that things are getting back to normal, I’m feeling like I’m ready to start making my goals for 2016.  But making those goals is tough – where do you even begin?  That’s why I decided to write a Goal Setting 101 post for those of us who are still working on our 2016 goals.  Knowing how to make meaningful and attainable goals will help us have the best year yet!

goal setting 101

We’re already almost halfway through January, which is the point that many people start losing their motivation to follow through with their New Year’s resolutions.  To be clear, I’m NOT a resolutions kind of girl. I feel like for some reason, resolutions never work. They’re usually too vague, big, and wishful and end up overwhelming those who make them. But goals, if made correctly, can be so powerful and create meaningful change throughout the year.  When you take a look at the definitions for each word, you can see a difference between what each action is trying to accomplish:

resolutions vs goals

A typical New Year’s resolution is something vague like “get a race PR” (um hello, me in 2015).  But how?  Is there a safe, healthy, and realistic way of doing it?  And what steps will you take to get faster?  Are those steps something you can commit to doing?  What happens if you don’t reach that goal?  There’s so much more to think about than your firm decision to PR this year, and without a plan it’s probably not going to happen.

Goals, however, are big, kind of scary, but manageable things that you can create steps to achieve through your ambition and effort.  And that’s what I wanted to happen in 2016 – big, meaningful changes that make my life better.  How do I plan on doing this?  Here’s my Goal Setting 101 checklist:

  1. Decide on your goal.  Don’t choose something just because everyone else is doing it – choose something you’re passionate about!  What do you want to put your time, energy, and motivation towards this year?  Is it something you can realistically achieve this year?
  2. Declare your goal.  Keeping your goal hidden is not going to do you any good.  Sharing it with other people will help keep you accountable and can help you reach your goal faster!  Many people choose to do this on their blog or on social media, but even just telling a friend or family member works.  Other people might have similar goals and you can swap tips and work together to achieve your goals.
  3. Break your goal down into steps.  What’s the first thing you need to do to get this process started?  What do you need to do to accomplish your goal? These steps need to be measurable and attainable.  For example, a goal of running 1,200 miles in one year can be broken down into 30 miles per week, and writing out a workout plan for how to fit those miles into your weekly workouts will help you make that a reality instead of letting you get overwhelmed.
  4. Set up checkpoints.  In that goal of 1,200 miles in a year, you might want to check in each month to see how you’re progressing.  If you’re on schedule, reward yourself with something like new running gear to keep up that motivation.  If you’re not on schedule, reevaluate what you’ve been doing to look for ways to improve.  Most of all, check in to make sure you’re still motivated to reach that goal!  Don’t feel pressure to stick with something that isn’t working for you anymore.  Life is too short!
  5. Celebrate when you reach that goal!  This is the best part.  You earned it!

These are just the first steps – there’s so much more information out there that can help you set and achieve your goals this year.  Want more tips on how to create goals and make 2016 the best year ever?  Check out what some other bloggers had to say:

Are you a goal setter this time of the year?  How do you decide on your yearly goals?  Have you ever kept a big goal a secret and still achieved it, and what was that like?

24 thoughts on “Goal Setting 101

  1. Normally I never set goals. My first goal was to run a marathon in January which I couldn’t so far due to my flu…
    But I would love to do a 75 mile ultra in October but am still uncertain whether I should sign up or not…

      1. Yes, I think I should. But every time I go running, I think I am not fit enough. Said thoughts caused from very hilly terrain!!!
        However, I found a running club near me and tonight is an open evening and if it feels right, I want to sign up. Think running in a group could improve my abilities!

    1. That’s how I felt this year too! I just can’t do it all on January 1st. If I wait later into the year I tend to follow through more. Good luck this year!

  2. I also feel like if you don’t achieve your resolution, you’ve failed (personal thoughts, not to be projected on anyone else), whereas the purpose of a goal is to strive and attempt to achieve it. With a resolution, it is pass/fail on that. With a goal, if you worked your butt off to get to it but fell short, well, you still achieved that goal. Know what I mean? It might just be semantics but it works better in my head to set goals!

    1. OMG yes! That’s exactly how I feel about resolutions vs. goals. I’ve never met anyone who ever stuck with a resolution, but I’ve met lots of people who have made progress through goals!

    1. So true! I’m a big list maker so I love all the mini goals that come with setting a big goal. I feel like I get to accomplish things all year!

  3. Great post and thank you for sharing my link! I’m a yearly goal-setter – and a quarterly/weekly/etc one! Setting goals helps me establish priorities and develop a plan of action!

    1. No problem! Your post was so helpful! And I’m so with you on the goals stuff. I set them each week so that I’ve always got something to cross off my list 🙂

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