To help people with organizing their goals, I frequently ask, “If you could wave a magic wand, what would you like ‘this’ to be like?” “This” refers to whatever you want to improve or change.
If you want to experience a certain journey and reach a particular destination, clearly visualize what you want to create. Be realistic on your starting point, because you may “set the bar” too high, then fail to reach the goal. If, for example, you’re not doing any exercise, and you set a goal to exercise an hour a day, it may be a set-up for failure and disappointment. Set the bar low, have success, and then build on that success.
When creating goals be “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time sensitive. Ask yourself these types of questions:
Q1. What will I do?
Q2. How many times, and how often?
Q4. For how long?
Here’s an example of some answers:
A1. Take a brisk walk.
A2. One time daily, six days a week.
A3. In the evening.
A4. 20 to 30 minutes.
Schedule reminders until the new behaviors become habit. And create goals that are positive rather than negative. For example, rather than “don’t spend too much time on Facebook;” perhaps a goal could be, “Allow 20 minutes maximum daily for Facebook.” Some people like to set timers to help them know when to stop. Another strategy is to glance at the time when you begin, set an ending time, and stick with it.
And get in the habit of patting yourself on the back when you accomplish a goal. This is another way of being positive. The negative way to say it would be, “Don’t expect anyone to pat you on the back for accomplishing your goals.” — It’s always nice when they do, but don’t depend on that. Find some way to reward yourself for a job well done.