If you’ve followed the entire of “G for Goals” series, you now have a comprehensive methodology for goal-setting. Great job! Was it as tough for you as it was for me? I totally get it. Just like my fitness philosophy, I want you to make modifications that will work for you. I encourage goal-setting in any form, even if it’s writing down a list of goals on the back of an envelope. So, as you take little steps up the staircase of your goal, here are some tips for your efforts.
Quick Top Ten. Here’s an easy goal-setting exercise. Pull out a piece of paper and write down a list of your top ten goals for the year. Close your eyes and ask yourself, “What would be crazy-cool to have accomplished in one year?” Don’t just limit it to one area, like your career or fitness. My happiest and most satisfying moments have been when my life was balanced. Here’s a list of areas that you should consider when writing a list of goals:
physical and health
family and home
financial and career
spiritual and ethical
social and cultural
mental and educational
Once you’ve completed this list, pin it up where you’ll see it daily – next to your computer, on your refrigerator, above your nightstand. You’ll be reminded of what you’re working towards.
Time and Track. Without a timeline – or at least a proposed completion date – you likely won’t feel much urgency to set in motion the consistent actions that will take you to your goal. For example, if I set a goal to “do 50 push-ups and 50 squats” versus a goal to “do 50 push-ups and 50 squats by February 15th,” I’m more likely to take action on the second goal – that deadline looms in front of me. Same goes for tracking – if I don’t create a schedule or keep count of the number of push-ups I do on a regular basis, how will I know whether I’m inching toward my goal, staying in the same position, or falling behind? Create an Excel spreadsheet on your computer, use the Notes function on your phone, or keep a small notebook in your bag. Tracking will keep your progress in your face, virtually ensuring movement towards your goal.
Personalize Your Goals. As the firstborn of two traditional Indian immigrants, I know about the pressures of performing to someone else’s standards. It has taken time to get comfortable with my life, which is different from what would meet my parents’ satisfaction or approval. I’m doing the best I can and striving to be a better person each day. I’ve had to make sure that my goals reflect who I am and what I want, not what my family or peers or society would like to see. Big difference. So, as you embark on the goal-setting adventure from here on out, double-check that your goals reflect you and who you want to be, not someone else’s expectations or desires.
No Slip-N-Slide. So you had a few “cheat meals” and missed some gym time. End of the world? Not at all. One common mistake I’ve learned from and have seen in others’ goal-setting endeavors is letting a “slip” turn into a “slide” and allowing their hard-earned efforts to dissipate. So if you caved and ate that extra piece of pie, might as well eat the entire thing since you’ve busted your goal to fit into that slinky dress. Right? Think again. You’re not a failure. You can do this. Take a deep breath, a sip of water, and get right back on the wagon. We are all works in progress. One small step backwards does not mean anything, as long as you take a step forward as soon as you can.
I hope these tips will be helpful as you write down your goals. Goal-setting is all-encompassing, and I can personally attest to the great results they produce in any area of life, as long you’re consistent and persistent. Take little steps every day. Stay the course and keep the end in mind.