So, if you’re like most of us you’re setting some goals for the new year right now. But are those goals realistic? That is, do they actually match reality? Are they things that you can actually potentially achieve? Let’s look at some of the things we should be asking ourselves (note to self) to filter our wild dreams into potentially doable goals.
Is It Specific?
Do you really know what that goal is, or is it still vague?
Goals usually start out being kind of vague, and I think that’s fine. But when it comes time to take action and start working on reaching a goal, it needs to be more “nailed down.” It needs to be a destination that you understand so that you can then map out the steps you need to take to reach that destination.
What IS My Goal? Do I Really Know?
Is this goal specific enough that I know how to take action on it?
Have I thought through how I’m actually going to achieve it?
How will I know when I have reached this goal? How is it measured?
Is it one thing or a whole category of things?
Is it more of a vision for the future, or a dream about the way I would like my life to be? Is it a principle or a lifestyle?
For example, does "get organized" really mean something like, "I want to be an organized person living in a well-organized, functional home"? Which is more of a statement of what you value or a vision for the lifestyle you want to live, than a goal. I think "get organized" is a legitimate goal in the sense of it being something you want to achieve or a destination you want to reach, but when it comes to setting goals that you can take action on and know exactly when you have reached them, it's big and it's vague. And let's face it, who among us, who wants to go from being disorganized to being organized can do that in a mere year? Five years maybe, if you're making long-term goals. But not a year. And who knows exactly what "organized" is going to look like so they know when they get there? Sorry. Unless you've already defined exactly what you mean and it's not going to take you long to get there, a goal like this probably isn't going to work out. If one of your goals is like this (more of a vision/dream/value) I think the thing to do is to keep it as your main goal, or vision, so to speak, but break it down into some things you need to do (not necessarily every single step, because you don't know them all at this point!), that are specific, in order to achieve the state of things you are looking for. Make sense? Don't launch out into nowhere expecting to get somewhere.
Break it down and make it doable, and that starts with making it understandable.
Is It Doable?
Speaking of doable, is your goal doable, or achievable? Is this possible? Not just in theory, but even if things don’t all go as planned (’cause they don’t)?
How much time will this goal take (on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, for example) to reach? Do I have that time available?
Have I taken into account my actual, real schedule and responsibilities?
Have I taken into account how my schedule and responsibilities will (or might) change throughout the year? For example: kid’s out of school, vacations, gardening season, weather, changing church duties.
Do I have the skills, tools, money, etc., to pursue and achieve this goal?
If I don’t, will I be able to obtain them within the needed time-frame?
Does this goal take into account my current state of health and wellness (or lack of!)? Do I have the energy? Do I have the physical strength to do the work? Or can I gain it in time? Or get help with projects as needed?
Is It Relevant?
Is your goal really meaningful (to you) and appropriate? Custom-made for your long-term goals and your life circumstances? And, no, I’m not trying to make goal setting harder. 🙂 I’m trying to make the goals that you . . . er, we . . . set more likely to be reached.
I’m enthusiastic about this goal right now, but will I be next week? Next month? Six months from now? Etc. ?
Is this goal based on a principle, or a whim, or something in between?
If this goal is based on the mood, or mindset, or season I am in right now, will this goal still be important later on this year when I am in a different mood, mindset, or season?
Does it fit my lifestyle (unless, of course, you’re working on changing your lifestyle!)?
Does it align with my principles, my priorities, my faith, etc.?
Will pursuing this goal, at this time, in this time-frame, give my highest priorities the space they need?
Note to self: read this blog post before you set your 2023 goals. Or any goals.🙂
Are your goals realistic?