With each new season comes lots of promise and excitement. And lots of goals! In this season of new goals, how do we know if we are setting good goals? According to a leadership class I took in college, there are three qualifications in order for a goal to be a good goal.
1. Measurable - In order for a goal to be good we have to be able to measure if we have attained the goal or not. If we simply want to be a better friend, how will we ever know if we have achieved that? There needs to be some way to measure if we have hit our goal. So instead of simply saying "I want to be a better friend," I should make my goal something like "I want to have coffee with my friend every other week." This allows me to see whether or not I have achieved my goal.
2. Achievable - When setting goals we often get so excited and decide that we can indeed take on the entire world. My goal may be measurable but if it's not achievable then I'm setting myself up for failure and frustration. I work with university students and one of the most recurring conversations is about establishing good Bible reading habits. Anytime I walk a student through goals pertaining to the Bible, I make sure we start somewhere they can achieve the goal. If they have been reading one chapter of the Bible every other week, then it would be silly to set a goal of reading five chapters every day. We've all been there. We get excited, set a goal, hit it for maybe a day or two, then we start slipping, then it becomes too much, then we give up. Let's make sure we're setting ourselves up to win! Push beyond your comfort a little, but make sure you can actually make it happen.
3. Time sensitive - This one is super important for me specifically. If I don't have some sort of time frame attached to a goal, then it is likely to get lost in the sea of tomorrow or one day. Our goal may be measurable and achievable, but if we don't have some sort of deadline on it, then we are likely to never put things in motion to make it happen.
One example of good goal setting in my life recently has been with running. In my life I go through running seasons. I'll run for a number of months, get frustrated, then quit for a few years. (yes years......) In October I launched a new running season in my life. In order to motivate and keep me going, I decided to set mileage goals each month and then adjust month to month as needed. My first six weeks I set myself a goal of 35 miles before Thanksgiving. It was measurable (did I log 35 miles), it was achievable (I had to push, but I made it!), and it was time sensitive (Thanksgiving was my deadline).
What goals are you setting in your life? And are they good goals?