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Day 26: Personal Goal Setting

Posted Jan 29 2010 2:00am

target 300x300 Day 26: Personal Goal SettingHey kids! Almost done! This is the end of week 4…Tuesday marks the official “last day” of the 30-day Challenge. We’ve been having a lot of fun with this and now it’s time to turn you loose. Of course, we’ll still be around with our regular posts, so you won’t have to go far to find us.

Today, a quick rehash of something I’ve talked about before: personal goal setting. Previously, I talked about it in terms of workout goals, but the same rules I mentioned there apply here.

Just to revisit the “rules of goal-setting,” your goals must be:

  • Specific – Do you know exactly what it is that you’re trying to do and why?
  • Measurable – Is there a set of criteria you can use for measuring progress?
  • Attainable – I lump this in with Realistic, but I’m sure there’s some Life Coach out there that can tell us what it really means.
  • Realistic – Can you really and truly accomplish this goal? Stretch goals are good. Unrealistic or unmotivating goals are bad.
  • Timely – A goal should have a timeframe. “I want to do X by Y.”

Personal Goal Setting

Just a week ago I read a discussion of a study that proved that writing down your goals made you more likely to reach them than just thinking about them. Obviously, writing them down is more effective than not having goals in terms of getting where you want to go. Unfortunately, I can’t find the post or the site that it was on. So we’ll work with something else I found in my search.

I found this study on Sid Savara’s site. Here is the gist…a study at Dominican University divided people into 1 of 5 groups with different ways of dealing with their 4-week goals. They were also asked to rate their goals on the following dimensions: Difficulty, Importance, the extent to which they had the Skills & Resources to accomplish the goal, their Commitment and Motivation to the goal, whether or not they had Pursued this goal before and if so their Prior Success.

The five groups were as follows:

  1. Think about their goals
  2. Write (type into the online survey) their goals.
  3. Formulate action commitments.
  4. Formulate action commitments and send their goals and action commitments to a supportive friend.
  5. Formulate action commitments and send their goals, action commitments and weekly progress reports to a supportive friend.

The 4 groups that wrote down their goals were 50% more likely to achieve them. Having a friend involved made the participant more likely to achieve their goals than just writing them down. For some odd reason, setting up actionable goals didn’t make them more likely to hit the target than just writing their goals down.

Regardless, I think having an action plan is a good idea. What’s the saying: “A goal without a plan is just a wish”? Something like that.

Task For The Day: Write Down Goals

goals 300x217 Day 26: Personal Goal SettingAlright, the final task I get to give you is a simple one, yet it’s not all that easy. You’ve already proven that you are determined to be healthy, look good, feel good, and enjoy life just by sticking with this for 30 days.

Now it’s time to take it a step further and figure out where you are going to go from here. You could forget everything you’ve done in the last month and end up next January on another “resolution rollercoaster”. Or you could keep up the new habits you’ve learned and keep progressing.

Your goals don’t necessarily have to be health- or fitness-oriented. I have tons of goals written down, in the form of 101 Things In 1001 Days. I’m actually only about 6 months from the end of my first run through 1001 days (about 2.75 years). I’ve hit around half of them already and have another 25% that’ll be crossed off the list very soon (some were on-going and can’t really be measured until the end). My goals range from fitness to financial to places I want to travel.

Enough rambling…your task it to sit down and pick at least 5 goals that you want to accomplish in the next 6-12 months. Alternatively, go the full monte and do a 101 Things In 1001 Days (or 25 things or 73 things or 51 things). I don’t care if your goal is to save $10,000 or lose 5% bodyfat…write it down.

I like long-term planning because it allows you to reach for things you can’t pull off in a month, but there’s nothing wrong with setting up goals that build on each other. In fact, it’s somewhat like having an action plan.

If you’re really motivated, come up with an action plan with several steps you need to take to hit each goal. For instance, all of my fitness-related goals roll into my general training plan. My training plan is designed specifically to get me to my goals.

Great work over the last 30 days, everyone! Where do you plan to go from here? What are your goals?

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