the most effective way to set goals
Here is a well know formula for goal setting, call the smart goals system. It is the system I use and I recommend you.
What are smart goals? Smart means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Relevant
T - Time-bound
Specific means that you describe your goal in as much detail as possible, the more clearly defined, the better.
For example, "I will be fitter than I am now " is a general goal. Instead, "Jogging five miles once a week " is a specific goal. If you dream of a new car, what dose the new car look like? You decide on an "Audi A4, red, including navigation system". Good, this is a specific goal.
The more precise you can be, the better.
To see if your goal is measurable, you may ask questions such as How many? How much? How do I know when the goal is achieved?
You will know how you process your goal when making it measurable. You stay on track, reach your goal little by little, and see your progress.
If a goal can not be measurable, it is not a smart goal. That's why "happy" or "successful" are not goals as such. Be specific! "I want to run 10 miles every day " shows the specific target to be measured. "I want to be a good runner" is not as measurable.
It means that you can complete the goal. It doesn't mean easy, just that you can have a reasonable expectation of achieving the goal.
Relevant means that the goal is important to you. It's something that you genuinely want, that fits in with your values and beliefs, and that you are prepared to work towards the goal.
It's important to distinguish here between a goal and a passing thought. For example, you may like the notion of becoming a top racing driver, but are you really prepared to get up early and train every single day for the next 5 years?
Time-bound is the last factor. It means you have to put a deadline on achieving your goal. Well, suppose we don't put a deadline, how long is it going to take? Maybe forever. So add a completion date to your goal.
Once you have set up a goal, find out if your goal is smart according to this system. Adjust your goal until it is a smart goal.
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