Setting Personal Goals

One of the first step to understanding how we can change our behaviors is to understand what we want to achieve and why that achievement is important to us.   You can print this chart out or write down your answers in a personal blog or notepad – so long as you take a moment to yourself to truly contemplate what your want to do and why you are doing it.


Setting a goal can be tricky if it’s something you’ve never done before.  Start with what you know you can do now and create a reasonable goal you know you can accomplish even if you have an “off” week along the way.  There is a Chinese Proverb that says “Do not be afraid of growing slowly, be afraid of standing still”.  Setting a goal for complete transformation can be exciting at first, but daunting after a few weeks (or hours!).  Take is slow if you need to, transformation is a present activity – not a final destination.


How crucial is this goal in your life?  How does it compare to and complement other priorities in your life?


Are you confident in yourself and environment that this goal is attainable?  Understanding your confidence in achieving your goal isn’t about underestimating yourself, but foreseeing social, workplace, and other environmental challenges that may arise.  Visualize these challenges and how you will face them.  If you have little confidence, but the goal is extremely valuable to you, seek support from friends and others with the same goal and challenges.


What happens right before you fall into a bad habit? What emotions do you feel before eating unhealthy foods or stay up late into the night?  Understanding the triggers that lead to the habits that you want to increase or decrease are vital to meeting your goals.  We’ll discuss triggers more at length throughout this program.


Similar to triggers, having the ability to have a bad habit can putting ourselves in a situation where we are more likely to fall into a bad or healthy habit.   If I go to a bar with friends after work my ability to drink beer is much higher than if I choose to go for a walk with my friends after work.  Keeping junkfood in the kitchen increases my ability to eat foods that are low in nutrients.  Likewise, if I keep my kitchen filled with fresh produce and whole foods, my ability to maintain a healthy diet is much higher.  Think about the ability you create in your day to day life to support your goals.


This is great for finding a picture and posting it in a place that you see often. What is your true motivation for your goal?  It is to be a better parent with more energy?  To get a raise at work?  Or to feel as good as you did when you were younger? Is your goal related to a deeply held belief you have?  By understanding your true motivation and remembering why it is important to you everyday will create an emotional charge to your goal.  This emotional charge will make it easier to take the steps toward your goal without having to think about each step — you’ll just do it because it feels “right”.

Rituals/Just for today

When you ride a bike up a hill, you downshift the gears to make it easier.  As you ride a bike down a hill, you shift the gears so you have more tension to push with.  The same is true in life.  Incorporate healthy habits and meaningful rituals into your daily life that support your goal.  On days when you are highly motivated, create the ability to shift your gears and give it your all.  On days when you are unmotivated or short on time, know how to easily downshift so you can continue to move toward your goal, but in smaller steps.

Related Posts:

  1. The Power of Habit
  2. Mental Toughness Matrix
  3. Decisional Balance Sheet
  4. Value/Satisfaction Audit
  5. Behavior Change Contract