Baby Steps

How many times have you sat down, probably on or around January 1st and wrote out a set of lofty goals?  You probably feel great about them too.  You are going to run a marathon in 6 months, or learn to play an instrument, get out of debt by Christmas, or lose 100 pounds by swimsuit season.  All of these are great long term goals.

But then, along the way somewhere, the goals get lost in everyday life.  You think to yourself

“I have 6 months to train; I can take off this week and do double workouts next week.”

“Christmas is so far away, it won’t matter if I go out to eat tonight.”

“I have such a long time to complete this goal; I can work on it later.  I’ll just work harder next week or next month”

And you keep this up, until there is no more time to complete your goal.  You feel depressed, angry and fed up.  You just can’t stick to your goals, so why should you even try.

The problem isn’t your goals, or that you will just always be a failure.  The problem is that you go about setting your goals the wrong way.  Long term goals are great, but what you need are short term goals that put you on the right path toward your long term goals.

What your Short Term Goals Should Look Like

Short term goals should be specific and measurable.  Something like, “I will exercise 4 times this week, 30 minutes each time.” Or “I will only eat out once this week and spend less than $25.”  You need to fill in your own specific numbers here, ones that will work for you and keep you on the path toward your larger goal.

The short term goals should be realized in about a week.  Even letting them drag on for a month is enough time to lose focus.  If it works for you, you can set daily goals for spending money, completing tasks or eating and exercising.

Benefits of Short Term Goals

Short term goals are clear. There is no confusion or room to fudge.  You are going to do a specific thing.

Short term goals move you toward your long term goal. They work within the context of where you want your life to be in 6 months, a year or longer.

Short term goals benefit you no matter what. Let’s say, in 6 months you decide that running is not for you and you want to take up cycling, or that you just don’t enjoy the piano, you would rather learn to quilt.  The short terms goals you have met along the way will add benefit even if your long term goals change.  You will have developed physical fitness that transfers to any sport, or just makes you a healthier person.  You will have learned self discipline that can benefit any situation.

If you have become frustrated with your goal setting and find yourself losing sight of your goals and dreams, break them up in to manageable pieces.  Give yourself daily or weekly goals that will move you in the right direction.  Then, when time passes quickly, you will find your goal completed instead of only finding excuses.

About Gayle

Gayle is a Social Media Enthusiast and Consultant with Biz Buzz Social Media Marketing; co-owner of Glynne's Soaps; a dalmatian rescuer; genealogist and member of the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) and of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC); a Cubs Fanatic; hopeful bagpiper; purveyor of positive; and a curious seeker of life.
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