How to Actually Achieve Your Goals

by Crystal R. Mendoza Paulin

Now that we've talked about the importance of having goals, we need to talk about creating good goals. A bad goal, one that is impossible to achieve or impossible to commit to, can quickly backfire— making you feel even worse than before. A good goal, on the other hand, can build up your confidence and self-esteem in no time!

Good goals all follow a basic formula, they must be:

  • Specific
  • Measured
  • Actionable
  • Responsible
  • Time-bounded

SMART goals should tell you exactly when, where, and how to do something. And that something should be something you are actually able to do. For example, "I will do 50 squats today" is not exactly an actionable or responsible goal for your 90 year old grandmother. (Unless she's totally ripped. Go grandma!) If you're just starting out with a new workout or routine, it's important to ease into it. A smarter goal may be, "I will do 5-10 squats this morning in my designated workout zone." 

Bad goals, on the other hand, are shallow:

  • Vague
  • Amorphous
  • Pie-in-the-sky
  • Irrelevant
  • Delayed

Perhaps the most infamous example of a VAPID goal is the common New Year's Eve Resolution, "I will lose weight." Okay, but how? How will you act out this plan? By diet? Exercise? When? In one month? Six? How much weight do you need to lose before the VAPID goal is satisfied? VAPID goals are insidious because by their very nature they don't give you the resources to accomplish the goal. VAPID goals are impossible to accomplish.

Therefore, it's important to set SMART goals, with special emphasis on the RT— hold yourself responsible for your time-bounded commitment. If you don't hold yourself accountable, your SMART goal will just turn into a VAPID one.

Most importantly, once you've completed your goal reward yourself! Bask in those endorphins! You've earned it!

 

This article is part of the Self Improvement series. For more on how to improve your mental and physical health, click here.