1) Were you specific on exactly what you were going to do?
Setting goals is important in order to make changes to our lives and better ourselves. However, there is a difference between a good goal and a bad one. We can say nice things such as "I'm going to eat better" or "I'm going to lose weight" but these kinds of goals usually don't get past the front door.
The reason? It's not clear exactly what you are going to do. It's hard to take action without a clear plan no matter how well intentioned it might be. Be specific in what your new goals are. If you want to eat better, list specifically how you are going to do that. This might include things such as: I'm going to drink 8 cups of water everyday or I will have vegetables with dinner every night or I will only have take out on Saturdays. All three of these goals list out exactly what you are going to do with the aim of the original less specific goal of eating better.
If you were to stick with the original goal, it will be harder for you to narrow in on how you will achieve it.
2) Is there a way for you to tell if you reached your goal?
If you make a goal that can't be measured, how will you know if you have reached it? This is similar to the previous point in that it's not clear what you intend to do, but it is more focused on the finish line. What would be easier to measure? I'm going to eat more greens or I will add greens to my breakfast smoothie in the morning. If you went with the first goal, it would just lead to more questions. How much more? How much were you having originally? When? What kind?
Be sure whatever goal you have set is clear enough you can measure how well you are doing at it.
3) Is there an end date?
This might seem a little silly, but it's actually very critical. You will often hear people who are trying to quit smoking talk about their quit date. That's because having a deadline helps to keep the goal in mind. If you don't set a time to reach your goal, it's very easy for it to end up on the back burner. Set a time for you to reach your goal that will challenge you, but not be so rushed that it will stress you out.
4) Did you set the bar too high?
We all want to reach for the stars, but sometimes setting goals at impossible heights will just leave you feeling defeated. A goal should challenge you to step outside your comfort zone to a point or else it's probably not much of a change. On the other hand, a goal should not be so challenging that it's nearly impossible. If you have a big goal in mind but it seems over whelming, try breaking it into smaller parts to make it more manageable. For example, if you were looking to lose 100lbs, maybe start with a goal of losing 10lbs first. Once that is achieved, focus on the next 10lbs. Breaking it into smaller parts will help keep you feeling positive and motivated as you meet each goal.
5) Do you really want to do this right now?
There are lots of things we probably SHOULD do but for a change to really happen it needs to be something we really want to do. Some things we don't want to do are unavoidable as they are life threatening such as having to take certain medications when you are sick. Others while beneficial do not always need to be done right away. You might be feeling pressure from a loved one or family member to do something they see as in your best interest. You might even agree that it would probably help, but the fact is you might not be ready. That is okay. What is important is to just get moving in the right direction. You might not be ready for this particular goal right now, but maybe there is something else you could do that would help?
For example, if you need to eat better to lower your cholesterol but you are not ready to give up fast food, maybe you can find a way to just make healthier choices when eating out. Maybe instead of setting at goal of eating out less often you set a goal of cutting out the fried food options or sugary drinks.
It's not the whole goal but it is moving in the right direction. And who knows, maybe down the road you will notice the effects of this smaller change and it will motivate you to make even more changes!
Setting goals isn't always as easy as it might seem but it is important. Just keep in mind that a goal:
-Should be specific enough you have a clear plan of what you are doing.
-Should be clear enough that you can track your progress and measure your success.
-Should have a time line of when you will reach it.
-Should be a challenge but not impossible.
-Should be something you actually want to do.
Best of luck with your goals!