The hardest part about setting goals is writing specific ones. Take a look at the worksheet you completed during the Awareness step of the three-step change plan. The first thing you did was to write a general statement about a particular behavior you’d like to change (target behavior).
Did you write something like?
1. Lose weight.
2. Get regular exercise
3. Eat healthy
4. Get regular rest
Which ones can be measured? If you said 1, 2 and 4, you’d be right. Number 3, ‘eat healthy,’ really can’t be quantified but it could be if it were broken into smaller more manageable parts. For example, ‘reduce daily intake of salt,’ or ‘reduce weekly soda consumption‘ are two goals that can be measured very easily. There are many more that could be used to successfully accomplish your goal.
When you break down goals into smaller parts, you’re also setting yourself up with a plan for how you’re going to go about accomplishing your goal. Having specific target behaviors to focus on will give you the direction you need to follow through on your actions. Take another look at number’s 1, 2 and 4 – ‘lose weight,’ ‘get more exercise’ and ‘get more rest.’ They can be measured but do the statements tell you anything about how you’re going to do them? Does saying that you want to lose weight tell you how you’re going to do it? It doesn’t, and that’s how you know if you’ve got a good goal or not. Your goals should tell you exactly where to concentrate your efforts and give you a way of measuring your progress toward that goal You try some. Rewrite the statement on the left, making it more focused on specific behaviors.
|Get more exercise.||1. Walk x miles per day|
|2. Ride a bike once a week through the park|
Making your goals pinpoint specific behaviors is easy to do if you follow the practices outlined in the first step, Awareness, in the three-step change plan. The Awareness step teaches you how to observe your behaviors as they relate to the target behavior you want to change. Now take a look at the contributing/detracting behaviors that you wrote under your target behavior on the Awareness Worksheet. These are the ones that you’ll be using as your goals. These are the smaller steps you will take to successfully reach your target behavior. Use the guidelines below to ensure that your steps are turned into real goals.
Now look at the statements you wrote under your
Add a Begin and End State
Again, this information is at your finger tips. You gathered all the necessary data from the Awareness step. You simple add in the numbers for what the behavior is like now and what will it be in the future. So, you now have, ‘get more exercise by walking from 0 miles a day to 1 mile a day.’
Add a Timeline
Next comes a time line. Although this is real simple do to, it’s also real simple to forget to do. By adding a timeline, you’re committing yourself to you action. You’ve got a begin date and an end date. Your goals now reads, ‘get more exercise by walking from 0 miles a day to 1 mile a day starting on April 1 and ending October 1.’
Add a Success Criterion
How will you know if you’re successful? Obviously, if you’re walking mile every day, then you’re successful but how many days can you miss and still be considered successful. A success criterion is very important and shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s what keeps you honest and prevents you from getting sloppy about your commitment. It’s also a way of knowing when you’ve earned the right to reward yourself as is discussed in 1st step “Encouragement -> Motivation -> Desire”