Goals are meant to help you grow. In order for growth to happen, there must be change. Therefore, an ideal goal should be one that changes you. It’s normal to fear change. There is comfort in staying within the known. That is why you will always find proponents of this is the way it has always been done philosophy. However, if you seek to become a better version of you over time, you must learn to set goals that:
Challenge you to improve
The ideal goal is one that is just beyond your comfort zone. It should be tough enough that you can’t get it done without trying just a little bit harder but not so tough enough that you lose hope and give up. Picture it this way. If you were teaching a four year old how to be a goalkeeper and kept kicking the ball towards him with all your strength, that child will soon give up football (if you don’t damage him first). The ideal thing to do will be to kick the ball towards the child with just enough force that the child can find it fun and actually react to. If it’s too easy, the child will get bored. If it’s just challenging enough, the child will want to try harder. If it’s too hard, the child will give up and cry.
You will need to stay motivated in order to see your goals through to the end. If you can’t find motivation anytime you read your goal statement, you are less likely to stick to that goal.
Result in a lifestyle change
We are the sum of our habits. The aim of any long term goal is to create new behaviour patterns that don’t allow us to fall back to our old ways. If you had a goal to stay fit and started exercising until you had a lean body, your aim should be to build the habit to continue exercising. If you slip back to your old ways, your lean body won’t maintain itself.
What’s your goal this quarter? Does it fit the 3 criteria above? If it does not, you might want to start thinking of rewriting your goal statement until it does.