Career | Entrepreneurship

The Dos And Don’ts Of Goal Setting

New Year's Resolution Fireworks

Set a real goal, not a New Year’s resolution!

The New Year will soon be upon us. ’Tis the season for some of the worst goal setting you will ever see.

Seriously. The New Year’s Resolution is the worst thing to happen to self-improvement since the late-night infomercial. Most people set goals for the New Year with the best intentions, but also with the worst plan.

So how do you avoid the common pitfalls of goal setting, but still improve yourself this coming year?? Follow these simple Dos and Don’ts.


Set the bar too high

Change is good. But drastic change is really hard. You can set lofty goals, but just know that the bigger the goal, the bigger the lifestyle change you need to make. Let’s take weight loss, for example. Say you want to lose 30 pounds, in order to be healthier. That’s great. But that means you have to change the way you eat, your routine at school, your routine at home and even the things you do with your friends. If you’re going to set a big goal, be mentally prepared to make big changes. Or you’re setting yourself up to repeat this process next year.

Be vague

Goals need to be measurable. Always assign a number or deadline when you can. “I’m going to quit smoking,” is good; “I’m going to quit smoking by April 1st,” is better. Numbers hold you accountable for making progress, so you can see if you’re on track to reach your goal, or you need to step up your game.

Punish yourself

You won’t always meet your goals. Don’t beat yourself up. Maybe it was your fault, maybe it wasn’t. Pinpoint what went wrong and move on. Attack the goal again with a different strategy, or try something else.

Try the same old thing

If you’ve tried to reach this goal before, and failed, don’t try the same approach. This might sound like common sense, but a staggering number of people are insane enough to try the same method, over and over, and expect different results.

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Expect to succeed

Think positively. Know that you own this. No “I’ll give it a shot, but…” pointless thinking. You can reach your goal with the right mindset. With that being said…

Expect to struggle

If there’s no challenge, this won’t be “that goal you reached.” It will just be “that thing you did.” It’ll be no big deal. So expect there to be a few hiccups along the way. This may even tell you that you’re on the right track. And, if you know they’re coming, you’ll be prepared and less likely to quit.

Tell your friends

Share your goal. If more people know about your goal, you’ll feel more motivated to reach it. Don’t be afraid to Tweet it or throw it in a Facebook status. Encouragement can sometimes come from unlikely places.

Reward yourself

Reaching your goal is a reward in itself…But it doesn’t have to be the only one. Treat yourself for your hard work. The effects of reaching your goal might not pay off right away (i.e. eating better, quitting smoking), so make sure there’s some immediate gratification in the form of a well-earned reward.

Set follow-up goals

If you succeed, you’ve proven that you’re capable of amazing things. So don’t stop now!

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