Motivation Articles

Do's and Don'ts of Goal Setting

Key Pieces to the Puzzle

2KSHARES
Page 1 of 2

Goal achievement, especially when it comes to health and fitness, can be a mystery. Most of us have no trouble with Step 1 (Setting the Goal). Setting a goal is the easy part, it's those other steps that can be a puzzle. But you CAN turn achieving your goals into a science with the right strategies. Here are a few of our favorites:

DO create a plan. DON’T wait for "someday" to roll around.
Setting the goal is just the first step. Know where you’re going, what resources you’ll need, who can help and – most importantly – what Plan B is when life throws a monkey wrench into Plan A.

DO start small. DON’T focus on too many things at once.
Try focusing on one goal at a time. Use a small goal that you know you can do each day for the next two weeks, like getting up without the snooze or drinking eight  cups of water. Build that first habit to boost your confidence and pick up speed.

DO write it down. DON’T forget to give yourself a deadline.
Deadlines turn wishes into goals. The act of writing down your goal is powerful enough to keep you committed and focused. Better yet, find a visual that represents your goal or how your life will be different. Seeing it makes it seem more possible.

DO be specific. DON’T deal in absolutes.
Avoid the words ‘some’ and ‘more’, as in "I will get SOME exercise" or "I will eat MORE veggies." It leaves too much wiggle-out room. Deal in measurable things that you have control over. And never say ‘never’ or ‘always.’ All or nothing is a common attitude that leads people back to bad habits.

DO leave room for failure. DON’T expect perfection.
Persistence is key. Accept the fact that you might not make it on the first try. In a recent study, only 40% of people who successfully followed New Year's resolutions did it on the first try; 17% of resolution achievers took six or more tries before they got it right – but they did get it right.

DO track your progress. DON’T fool yourself into failure.
Memory can be pretty selective. It conveniently forgets that extra brownie while remembering activity that never happened. The only way to know for sure is to track goals regularly with a checklist or journal.

DO reward your success. DON’T beat yourself up over failure.
This is the step that trips up most people. Negative thoughts are usually in our heads, telling us every day what we’re doing wrong. This is not the approach to take to succeed with your goals. Why not focus on what you’re doing right instead? If you take a step back, learn from it and take two steps forward.
Continued ›

Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
2KSHARES

About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • I've set several goals since February and I've met all of them. I bought myself a charm bracelet and I add a charm each time I lose 10 lbs. I've been in a plateau for a while but I know I'll start losing again eventually. My doctor recently tinkered with my thyroid meds and I think that might be the problem. Otherwise, I'm enjoying this process. I'm much more active and healthier.
    You have to be willing to let go of your negativity. If everything someone suggests is met by "no, that won't work", it won't! - 6/21/2016 11:32:30 PM
  • I'm in.....Goal to track food every day for 2 weeks! One step at a time. - 6/3/2016 8:23:25 AM
  • Sensible, encouraging articles like this are why I love Spark so much more than the "kill yourself to lose weight fast" trends. Thank you! - 5/13/2016 4:47:12 PM
  • I can do a better job of setting specific goals. I am still somewhat hung up on the specificity element. IN my mind, I eat a lot of vegetables and some fruit, but I often just eat whatever leftovers there are and forget to or fail to add something fresh. I have been on a crusade to eat the things I buy before I have to throw them out. I wish there were a way to buy a 1/4 loaf of bread, by the way. - 4/20/2016 4:26:41 PM
  • I need to start again and focus on just one thing at a time.

    what should it be? eliminating things I know are not good for me to eat? Just one food item a month? 3 a month? or for 6 months?

    or should I focus on adding 10 minutes of fitness into every day?


    Suggestions anyone? - 4/10/2016 9:10:47 PM
  • I have a goal set to walk my dog Benny a minimum of 4 times for a period of minimum 15 minutes each. - 2/7/2016 8:54:09 PM
  • I'm not good at the rewards thing either - meeting my goals is pretty satisfying. But I need to do a better job and scheduling in the time to meet my goals, and SparkPeople is helping me start to enlist support. I have a couple teams here that really really help. - 1/5/2016 11:28:32 PM
  • Good points, thanks. - 1/5/2016 7:45:35 AM
  • I'm in! - 1/4/2016 11:57:09 PM
  • I think this challenge is just what I need. - 1/4/2016 7:51:03 PM
  • looking forward to a improved me this year! - 1/4/2016 10:30:52 AM
  • I am trying this new challenge to help myself get back on track. - 1/4/2016 10:24:28 AM
  • I am trying this new challenge to help myself get back on track. - 1/4/2016 10:24:27 AM
  • I enjoyed the article -very timely and informative. And I especially appreciate the permission to be kind to myself and not expect perfection. This too often has been my nemesis. If I stumble in my quest I'm in good company - about 100% of humanity. - 1/2/2016 2:56:14 PM
  • My favorite Zig Ziegler quote "when people tell me motivation never lasts, I tell them bathing doesn't either, that's why I recommend it daily". I need to make this my mantra. - 12/28/2015 8:24:36 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by August 8! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.