I believe that the most important thing that we can do in order to contribute to the growth of our character is to set measurable, realistic goals for ourselves and hold ourselves accountable. Measurable goals allow us to avoid getting caught up in the insignificant and allow for a much clearer view of our paths, development, and growth.
At the beginning of every month I sit down with my note book and outline my goals for the upcoming 4 weeks. I divide my list in three categories: Personal Goals, Fitness Goals, and Business Goals.
My “Personal Goals” category usually contains goals connected to “character” and “soul”. For instance, a few months ago when I was having a hard time keeping my head above water, my personal goals included the following:
Think of one great thing that distinguishes you from the rest of the world every morning.
Think of three things that happened today that you are grateful for at night.
Simple things like that allowed me to more effectively deal with the challenges that I was facing and made me concentrate on the positive things that were going on in my life instead of the storm of difficulties that I was dealing with.
I did not use to separate my Fitness Goals from my Personal Goals until I realized that I allowed my Fitness Goals to overtake my Personal Goals. So, I gave my Fitness Goals their own place to live and found that it kept me even more on track. During the last few months, my Fitness Goals included:
Eat less cheese (a little back story here, my goals for the year included eliminating all processed food from my diet. I pick a processed food every month, and try to break the habit of eating it)
Decrease my 5K time by 2 minutes
Increase my maximum squat weight by 10lbs
Setting Fitness Goals allows me to figure out what I am going to concentrate on during the next month and helps me plan my workouts. It also allows for a more measurable result at the end of the month when I do my self evaluation.
Just like Personal and Fitness this is a very important category for me that I know I need work in. Setting measurable monthly goals in this category can make a difference between toiling away to get a paycheck and living. These monthly, in-depth evaluations allow me to better prioritize during the upcoming month, keep me on top of my deadlines, and to make sure that I have a good foundation that will allow growth and development.
Of course just simply setting measurable monthly goals is not going to help you, unless you review them frequently. It is important to keep yourself on track and tuned in to your daily progress as well as the overall monthly, quarterly, and yearly progress. You should be realistic about setting your goals to prevent discouragement. If your goals are not evolving month to month, every quarter, or every year, then you are not setting measurable and realistic goals. Get to planning, people. It is going to be the best thing you ever do for yourself next to drinking plenty of water.