How to Make a Good Goal

On October 20th, Happiness 101 will explore that Happiness Activity of committing to your goals. So, it seemed appropro to go over a few of the basics of goal setting:
* Measurable – It’s great to say I want to complain less, but unless the goal is measurable, it is difficult to know when you have crossed the finish line. If you said you want to decrease your complaining by 30% or down to less than 10 times per day THAT would be measurable.
* Time line – A good goal involves some kind of a time line. It might be a day or a week or it might be a year but there should be some kind of reasonable time set at which time you measure your success. Then if you need more time, simply set a new review date. Repeat until goal is complete.
* Attainable – To set yourself up for success, you want to make sure your goal is something you can reach. The “reach for the stars and you’ll at least hit the moon” is great but setting a goal you can actual complete is critical. This brings up another important point about whether the completing the goal is actually within your control.
* Is reaching your goal withing your control? If you set a goal to lose five pounds – is that within your control? How about a goal to get eight hours sleep? Much of this depends on the individual. If one has a thyroid problem or a newborn in the house, achieving these goals might feel very frustrating. If your goal was to work out for 30 minutes three times a week – THAT is more in your control than what the scale might say. Or you will go to bed at 9pm six out of seven days per week. With a newborn in the house, you might feel that you have little control over what time you wake up, but going to bed at a decent hour sets you up for success. Notice I did not say “go to sleep” – I wrote “go to bed”. If you have trouble going to sleep, I’m sure you can appreciate the difference.
* Baseline – To start, make sure you have some sort of measurement of where you are starting. For instance, if you want to lose five pounds, how would you know you had lost the five pounds unless you know how much you weigh now? If you want to complain less, you might spend a day counting the number of times you complain so you would then know later (when you count again) whether you are, in fact, complaining less.
* Accountability – I suggest telling someone about your goal and make a commitment to check-in about the goal at a certain date or even every week. This is one of the reasons Weight Watchers works so well.
We will discuss the issue of goals further in Happiness 101 on Tuesday 7pm at my office: 220 East 3900 South #7. Call 801-262-0317 for recorded information

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