I am a big fan of goals. I could tell you that I am more motivated when I have goals, and that’s true. But do you know why I love goals the most? They make me happy! They’re the road map that tells me where I am and how far I have left to go. And best of all, I get to choose my goals. No one else can do that for me.
If you don’t have the same affinity of goal setting that I do, it might be because you haven’t set the right kind of goals. Good goals are specific, obtainable, measurable, and have a deadline.
The problem with vague goals is that you never really know if you hit them or not. For example, if you have a goal to “get in shape” but you don’t put any definitions on that goal, you’ll never really know if you “got in shape”. However, if you change that goal of getting in shape to “run a 5k by Thanksgiving”, you now know what you need to do. There’s no question whether you did or didn’t run a 5k, whereas you might be questioning whether or not you got into shape.
When is a good time to make goals?
Today! You don’t have to wait until the beginning of the year to make goals. I choose to make long term goals like 5 year and 10 year goals, but also shorter term goals like yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. In fact, when I first started making good yearly goals, it wasn’t in January, it was in August! Here’s the thing about shorter term goals like monthly, weekly, and daily, they are not completely different than my overall 5 year and yearly goals. I’m not just tacking on goal after goal after goal. They’re actually built-in mini-goals of that larger goal.
Short term mini goals are natural action steps for your larger broader goal.
I have a yearly reading goal. Last year it was to read 12 books. When I made my monthly goals do you think I made it a goal to read 12 books in January? No, my goal in January was to read one book. I took my larger yearly goal and divided it by 12. (You can also divide a yearly goal by 4 and create quarterly goals.) Similarly, my monthly goal wasn’t to read 2 magazines. Reading magazines is fine and something I enjoy doing, but it wasn’t related to my overall yearly goal. Did I read some magazines? Sure, but I was conscious of my big goal when making smaller goals so I set my smaller monthly goal as reading 1 book per month, not magazines.
How to Turn Vague Intentions into Good Actionable Goals
I think the biggest challenge people have making goals is figuring out how to turn an intention into a goal. I see really great ideas thrown around a lot during the beginning of the year like “I want to spend more time with my family”, “I want to focus on my career”, “I want to get organized”. But it’s hard for some to turn these intentions into goals. Here’s my advice for turning a vague intention into a good actionable goal.
1) Focus on the person you want to be next year (or at the end of your chosen time frame).
Having a clear and specific picture will help motivate you and inspire you.
2) What’s one way you could achieve your ideal?
For “spending more time with the family”, you might consider taking a quality vacation or dedicating time to recreation with your family. For “focusing on my career”, you might consider applying for a promotion or job change. For “I want to get organized”, you might consider asking for help decluttering around the house.
3) Break down your new smaller goal into action steps
Ask yourself, what’s the first step?
It might be planning a staycation while you save up for a bigger vacation, or editing your resume, or signing up for a decluttering challenge.
If you’re still stuck about breaking down your goals, ask a friend who is practical to help you brainstorm. Sometimes just having a fresh pair of eyes on the problem can help you think of new solutions.
I have a yearly goal setting sheet that I sell for $4.99 on Etsy, but you can get it free by downloading it here. This printable is actually a part of my larger printable 2019 Business & Life Planner that you can purchase here.
One last thing about goals, it’s important to celebrate them when you hit them! This is something I am still working on! When you hit a goal, even if it’s a smaller goal, celebrate that win.
Download my free printable here
Are you excited about your goals? All goals should fill you with excitement, not dread! Let me know how you're feeling in the comments below!
Hey! I'm Christine, I'm an entrepreneur and small business owner who has learned by trial and error. I write helpful articles that help you take your next steps in business. Occasionally I like to mix things up and dash in a bit of lifestyle topics. Thanks for being here!