Setting Goals for Success

Wellness is about lifestyle improvement, lifestyle change and maintaining that positive change. Setting goals for success along your journey can help keep you focused on what you want to achieve. By asking yourself, “How can I grow further?” and “How can I improve myself?” you are on your way to enhancing your wellness. This article gives you resources on the benefits of setting goals and how to be successful with them.

Why set a goal?

  • Goals give you a long term vision. When you have a long term vision, you can then set small ‘baby step’ goals along the way that are relevant to the long term vision. For example, if your long term vision is running a 5K next year, then you can make small goals along the way, like walking for 30 minutes 4 days a week, then maybe start jogging, or joining a running club. Gradual steps towards preparing for a 5K run make the long term vision more achievable.
  • Goals give you motivation to make changes. Having a specific goal can help you stay motivated to move toward your goal. When you have a visual of what you want to achieve, it becomes more tangible.
  • Goals keep you organized and focused. Having a goal to work toward can keep you set on action steps along the way. You have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and you can pace yourself to take gradual steps along the way.

Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich”, interviewed over 500 American millionaires across 20 years, including Henry Ford, JP Morgan, Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison.

He concluded that the main cause of failure is having no definitive chief aim in life – or failure to set clear and attainable goals- and plans to accomplish these goals.

Questions to ask yourself when setting a goal:

What do I really want to do? Where am I doing currently? Where do I want to go? What am I committed to doing? What are my challenges? What are some strategies to overcome these challenges? What is my support system?

For example, you may really want to run a 5 K. You are currently walking 30 minutes 4 days a week. You want to be able to run a 5 K by next year. You are committed to walking or running 4 days a week for 45 minutes. Some challenges may be weather, having someone watch your children when you are meeting with a running group, having time to take your kids to their activities and get in your running time, or feeling tired. Your support system may be a friend who is willing to watch your children while you practice running. Maybe your partner can cook on the days you are running. Your coworkers may encourage you to walk on your break at work.

When you are able to plan and organize your lifestyle, reaching your goal can become more manageable, and you can focus on what you need to do to accomplish your goal with less resistance and stress.

Goals should be something that you want for yourself. Make sure that your goal is yours and not want someone else wants you to do. Otherwise, you may lose your motivation and interest in the goal and give up. When you are passionate about your goal, you are much more likely to achieve it.

Setting SMART goals:

  • Specific. Having a specific goal helps keep you focused and gives you a good visual and clarity on what your goal is, instead of a goal that is vague. For example, instead of saying “I want to eat healthier”, a specific goal can be “I will eat one fruit and one vegetable every day.”
  • Measurable and Meaningful. Goals need to be measurable so you can create realistic and achievable ones. You can then adjust as you need to along the way. Your goals should be meaningful to your long term vision, and what you want to accomplish for yourself.
  • Achievable and Action-oriented. For change to occur, you need to have a plan of action. Make sure you take baby steps along the way so the goals are achievable.
  • Realistic and Relevant. Keeping goals realistic can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. For instance, if you are not exercising at all, then making a goal to exercise every day for an hour can be unrealistic. Instead, you may want to start off with exercising 15 minutes 3 days a week and gradually work up to what you want to do. Goals should be relevant to your long term vision.
  • Time bound. To make sure that you are giving yourself enough time to achieve a goal, it is important to have your goal time bound. It also helps prevent you from procrastinating on working toward your goal.


More tips to make your goals successful:

Write down your goal. Writing down your goal gives you a good visual and reminder. Keep your goal close by, like on the refrigerator, on your desk or computer as a reminder of what you want to accomplish.

Share your goal with others. Telling others about your goal not only helps with support, motivation and accountability, but you are also three times more likely to achieve the goal.

Keep your goal realistic and challenging. In order to grow and improve, your goal needs to be challenging, just enough to push yourself slightly beyond your comfort zone. It also needs to be realistic for you, so that you can achieve the goal.

Enjoy the journey. Setting goals for yourself can help you stay focused and motivated to move forward, and gives you a vision of what you want to achieve. Enjoy your journey to wellness and be gentle with yourself when you have a setback. Use the setback as an opportunity for growth and learning and continue moving forward with what you can do.