5 Essential Tips for Setting an Effective Goal

Do you want to make some changes in your life, but don’t know where to start?  Try setting a weekly goal!  It’s a great way to get inspired and motivated, and by determining a goal that’s meaningful to you, you’ll focus your energy toward positive change and give yourself something to get excited about.

Before you decide on a goal, take some time to envision what’s important to you in terms of your overall well-being. Once that’s clear to you, think about the steps that can lead you to that vision.  For example, if you’d like to lose weight and become more active, some of the steps to take might include cutting back on soda, spending more time at the gym, or preparing healthier meals.  Once you’ve identified the steps, you can use them to set a goal.


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Here are 5 essential tips for creating an effective goal:

  1. Make sure that it’s SMART:
    • Specific – What exactly do you want to achieve?
    • Measurable – How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
    • Achievable – Is it reasonable enough to be accomplished?
    • Relevant – Is it worthwhile and will it meet your needs?
    • Timely – Do you have a time frame?
  2. Define what you WILL do, not what you WON’T do.  For example, instead of setting a goal to “stop drinking soda” set a goal to drink 8 ounces of water at a time when you normally have a soda.
  3. Make your goal about your behavior, not the outcome. You can control the actions you take, but you cannot guarantee a specific outcome.  For example, instead of “I will lose 5 pounds”, try setting an exercise goal like the example below.
  4. Start small, but try to stretch a little bit outside of your comfort zone.
  5. Be accountable.  Find someone you can discuss your goal with – ideally someone who will be willing to listen without judgment as you process your experience.

A well-written goal will look like this:

This week, I will run on the treadmill at my gym for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 8:30 am.

Now that you know what to do, set a goal for the upcoming week.  Then, after the timeline for the goal has passed, reflect on your experience by answering the following questions:

  • What went well with your goal?
  • What were your challenges or obstacles?
  • What did you like about this goal?
  • What did you learn?

Don’t throw in the towel if you didn’t accomplish your goal exactly as it was written. Remember that there’s always something to be learned from your experience, and you can use that information to move forward and set a new goal.  For example, if you set a goal to drink 80 ounces of water every day and then found that overwhelming, you can rewrite your goal the following week so that it’s more manageable and fits you better.

Now, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and use it to set a new goal for the upcoming week.  You’re on your way to positive change!

Working on a wellness vision and setting appropriate goals is most successful with the help of a Health & Wellness Coach.  If you’re interested in a free 30 minute coaching consultation, please contact me .

If you’re not able to commit to working with a coach right now but you’d like some help setting a goal, feel free try my printable  Goal Setting Worksheet.



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