How to Set Goals You Can Actually Achieve

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It’s a new year and time to think about all we want to accomplish this year. Earlier this week I shared how I want my focus to be on “the good life.” That is, I want everything I do to honor and please God by doing it with the attitude and gentle manner of His Son Jesus.

Now it’s time to focus on specific goals for 2017. It’s easy to get carried away and say you are going to lose weight or exercise more. Or, you decide you are going to be organized.

The problem with setting these kinds of goals is that they are too broad and don’t really let you know when you have completed them.

The basic rule of thumb when setting goals is to make sure they are SMART.






Let’s set ourselves up for success this year by setting SMART goals.

For example, you say you want to lose weight. A SMART goal would be to lose 30 pounds in 8 months. This goal is:

  • Specific-30 pounds
  • Measurable-you will have succeeded when you lose 30 pounds
  • Attainable-30 pounds in 8 months is reasonable
  • Relevant-it supports your overall goal of being healthier
  • Time-Bound-8 months is the deadline

While it’s great to set these SMART goals, it’s also important to remember that you need an action plan to carry out those goals. This is where we often fail at actually executing a plan to reach our goals.

Let’s look at  our weight loss example again…

Losing 30 pounds in 8 months is a great goal. We’ve already determined it’s SMART. So how are you going to achieve this goal?

There are many activities you could choose from that would help you lose the weight. However, you need to pick specific strategies to make the best use of your efforts. And, these strategies need to be SMART just as your goal is.

Here are a few activities you could choose to help you realize your goal of losing 30 pounds in 8 months:

  • drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • track your food intake in a fitness app
  • walk/run 3o minutes 3 days a week
  • eat 5 fruits and vegetables every day
  • restrict your calorie intake to a healthy amount for your body

As you can see, all of the above activities are very specific. Notice that it didn’t say exercise 3 times per week; I chose a specific exercise. It didn’t just say drink more water. I gave a specific amount. You get the idea!

I hope this helps you when you are setting your goals for the year. Remember, it’s always best to be as specific as possible in each step of setting your goals.

Here are a few goals I have set for myself in 2017:

1. Spiritual

  • Daily quiet time with God
  • Writing out Scripture before bed
  • Writing in my gratitude journal every day
  • Studying the Bible through personal and organized bible studies

2. Physical

  • Eating between 1500-1600 calories per day
  • Tracking the food I eat every day
  • Training for a 1/2 marathon in March
  • Cooking at least 4-5 nights per week instead of eating out

3. Relational

  • Spending one-on-one time with each of my kids at least twice a month
  • Bringing back date nights (or even lunch dates) at least twice a month

4. Mental

  • Reading at least 12 fiction books
  • Completing family vacation scrapbooks from the last two years
  • Spending 30 minutes to an hour each week stamping and making encouraging cards to send to friends and family

5. Financial

  • Tracking my spending to find areas I can cut back
  • Being more generous with my finances by choosing an organization to support
  • Using coupons on each grocery shopping trip

6. Social

  • Opening our home at least once a month to friends
  • Getting together with girl friends at least once a month
  • Finding a young mom to mentor

7. Personal Growth

  • Reading at least 12 nonfiction books that will help me out in different areas of my life
  • Attending at least one conference or retreat
  • Following people on social media who inspire women to be their best

Leave a comment below and tell me what your goals are for the new year.

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