The best way to set goals is to make it clear where you are starting from, why you need to achieve it, and set criteria from the start. This motivates you to reach it, even surpass it, and gives you a clear ‘finish line’ for them. I used a three ‘What … ?” system to do this.
What is the current situation?
Explaining, in detail, what the current situation is is how a good goal starts. For me, this included how I got to this point. Giving this additional context, even if it’s purely for you, gives the goal meaning. It’s one thing to simply say “I don’t read enough”, it’s something entirely mroe substantial to expand that.
“I’ stopped reading as screens became more accessible. I”m not seeking out new information, and this is restricting my capacity to grow and learn. I need to read more”
What will I do to change?
Next, I detailed why I needed to change, why I set this goal. This is where the motivation comes into view. If you outline why, and how, you want to achieve a goal, you’re getting into the mindset you need to achieve it.
“Very few people my age are actively reading high quality books. If I do this, I will set myself aside from my peers, and give myself more resources to put into assignments, and develop my skills to a higher standard”.
You need to be honest about what achieving the goal will do for you for this to be effective.
What will success look like?
Finally, how will you know you’ve achieved the goal. If you don’t set clear criteria, it becomes too easy to retroactively change what the intent of the goal was. Moving these goalposts does nothing but harm you. The point of setting goals isn’t to achieve them, it’s to progress. Every goal you fail to achieve is still progress, and allows you to reflect on what happened. This can lead to reevaluating the goal, or correcting your course to keep working towards it.
“I will read 12 books. I will actively seek out new books. Reading will become a leisure activity that I do for fun, and not a chore”
With this guide, I set 14 goals across my three areas of health. I set them to improve parts of me that were unhealthy, and to work towards that growth. I know I set good goals because even though it’s 2020, and I achieved most of them, I wasn’t content to rest. I took that momentum, and carried it forward, eager to set bigger goals, to challenge myself, and to rise to that challenge.