Thursday, March 17, 2016

How I Set Goals

Since I started Courtney's Little Things, I've been writing about my goals whether they be yearly or monthly goals. It's pretty clear I like goals and think they're important. I even set goals for each day with my daily to-do lists and sometimes I get a bit more in-depth by taking time to re-evaluate what I want my life to be like and how I can make that happen.

So why do I think goals are so important? Because they give you some direction and help you to make stuff happen. My goals help me to be deliberate in my actions so I can get to where I want to be in life instead of just going through life on autopilot and hoping someday things happen for me. Since goals are so helpful for me, I thought I'd write a post all about setting goals to help you all to be more successful and happy in your life!

How I Set Goals from Courtney's Little Things

Identify your time frame.

What time frame are you giving yourself for these goals? Your goals that you want to have achieved in 10 years are going to be different than the goals you want to have achieved by the end of this week. So decide what time-frame you're giving yourself to accomplish these goals. Are you making lifetime goals, goals for this year, for this month, for next week, or today?

Answer these questions.

If you're new to setting goals, you might not know how to start even identifying what your goals are. There's a few questions I ask when I'm setting goals:
      1. What do I want my life to be like?
      2. What do I want more of in my life?
      3. What do I need to accomplish to get there?
You can make these questions work for your time frame by adding "in 10 years," "this year," "this month," "this week," or even "today" or "when I'm 90?"

You could also ask yourself questions for different areas of your life like health (mental and physical!), financial, relationships, education/career, and personal. So ask yourself "What do I want to do for my health this month?" or "What do I want to do to improve my relationships this month?"

Make it doable.

When it comes to goals, you want them to be doable. I'd definitely encourage you to dream as big and as crazy as you want when it comes to your life goals or bucket list, but when you're making goals for the next 10 years, this month, or this week, you want them to be goals you can actually complete. By making them doable, it keeps you more motivated and helps you achieve the big goals you have for your life.

So one of my life goals is "to be a master teacher." That's great! But how am I gonna get there? For me, a goal I want to achieve by the time I'm 30 is getting my master's degree. Continuing my education is one way to be a master teacher. But I'm not waiting to graduate with my bachelor's degree to start this goal either. I have goals for the semester to help me get there like working hard in my current classes to learn as much as I can, so I can be the best teacher I can be and creating a teaching binder dedicated to all the great ideas I hear in class, read in books and articles, and the lessons from my personal experiences. I take every opportunity I get to teach and work with students and do my best to learn and improve based on these experiences.

Or maybe you made a goal for 2016 like "lose 20 pounds." That's something you're going to have to work for! So maybe your monthly goal for the first few months is to lose 4 pounds at the end of each month. That's good, but you're going to have to break it down some more! So your weekly goal might be to hit the gym for an hour, 3 times a week and record your intake on an app. Then your daily goal is to go to the gym for an hour or do something active for 20 minutes on off days, eat fruits and vegetables with each meal that day, and drink 8 glasses of water. See how that makes your yearly goal doable on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis so you can accomplish it? Hopefully these examples show how you can break down a big life or yearly goal to a more doable, bite-size goal.

Write it down.

Now that you've got your time frame, what your goal is, and you've made sure it's doable it's time to write it down! I write down my goals in my bullet journal and have found I really like sharing them here on my blog as well (it also motivates me to get them done). Maybe you'd rather write your goals on a piece of paper and hang it on your wall so you can see it everyday, or write them on the notes app on your phone. Whichever way works for you, but as long as your goals are recorded!

Get going.

Once you've figured out your goals and written them down, don't let it stop there! Keep it going and start working towards accomplishing these goals! Start today with your goals and don't put it off until tomorrow or Monday.

Don't overwhelm yourself.

While you can do anything, you can't do everything. Choose 3-5 goals to focus on.

Don't feel bad.

This goes several ways. Don't feel bad about the goals you set for yourself or worry about them being "stupid" or "too boring" or whatever you might come up with. Maybe your goal is to walk 20 minutes a day while your friend is out running 40 minutes every morning. Don't feel bad about your goal being "too small." If you're used to just sitting most of the day and haven't been active in a while, setting a goal to walk 20 minutes a day is a great goal!!

After you've set your goal, don't feel bad if you don't accomplish it or don't get it done completely. Your goal is to walk 20 minutes a day, but you forgot to walk 20 minutes yesterday. Don't feel bad about missing yesterday or let that stop you from completing that goal for today! It can be easy to let one mess up cause you to just give up on the whole goal, but don't let that happen to you, You fell, but you can get back up and keep going.

So those are my tips for setting goals that help me. If you want to read more about setting goals, this is a great post about setting goals from Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog.