A Girl's Guide To Goal Setting

Setting goals can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

By Meghan Dillon3 min read
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From what type of goals to set to how to keep track of them, we have your back. Here's everything you need to know about goal setting in 2023.

Short-Term Goals vs. Long-Term Goals

There are many different types of goals out there, but two of the most distinctive categories are short-term goals vs. long-term goals. Short-term goals can last up to a few weeks or months, while long-term goals can span over the period of several months to a few years.

The possibilities for both types of goals are endless. Common short-term goals are losing five pounds, developing a self-care routine, and reading a couple of books in a month. Long-term goals include starting your own business, writing a novel, and losing 30 pounds.

Before you begin to tackle your goal, you need to ask yourself a few questions, mainly if it’s realistic or not. The best way to do this is to try to break the goal into smaller chunks to see if it’s achievable. If you can find a healthy way to lose 30 pounds in six months, it’s realistic. If you can’t find a way to launch a Fortune 500 company over the span of a few months, it’s probably an unrealistic goal. You might need to adjust either your timeline or your goal to make it realistic.

You also need to be very clear and specific about what your goal is. The more nebulous (I want a promotion), the less likely you are to accomplish it. Make your goal as specific as you can (I want a 10% raise by July).

Another really important question to ask yourself is what is your why? Why do you want to achieve this particular goal? That why (your motivation) is what will help you discern if you really want to dedicate time and effort to this goal, and it will help keep you motivated when you’re feeling tired or discouraged. If your why isn’t strong or deep enough, you’re less likely to follow through on your goal.

How To Break Down Your Long-Term Goal

The easiest way to achieve long-term goals is to break them down into smaller goals. If you want to lose a significant amount of weight, for example, break it down into smaller chunks (like losing five in the first month, or even one pound a week) and watch them add up. This works because long-term goals are daunting, and looking at the amount of work you have to do is often enough to make you want to give up before you start trying. Breaking goals down not only makes them more digestible, but you’ll only have to focus on the first part.

In order for this to work though, you need to sort out all the details of what you need to do at each stage so all you have to do is focus on your current stage. Take the time before you begin to write down your timeline, what you want to achieve in each chunk, and what you need to do to succeed. 

Maintain Habits To Meet Your Long-Term Goal

Whether your long-term goal is to lose weight, write a novel, or move across the country, you’re going to have to change some habits to reach it. Losing weight will require you to change your diet and exercise routine, whereas wanting to move across the country will require you to change your financial habits, but the most important part is consistency. 

Tracking your progress helps you know exactly where you are in relation to your goal and builds confidence and excitement as you see what you have already achieved. The easiest way to track your progress is to log it. Keep track of your timeline of all the short-term goals inside your big goal, and journal about your progress. Take note of what worked and what didn’t work. This will not only help you maintain these habits, but will also help you improve on them with time.

This might sound counterintuitive, but you should expect to get derailed at some point. Emergencies and unexpected events happen, so before you get started, you should have a plan in place for when you inevitably get knocked off track. Tap back into your why, adjust your schedule/timeline, and get back to work.

What About Overlapping Goals?

Have you ever finished a difficult goal or a large project or even a really long book, and then felt listless and adrift? One way to avoid that emotional lull and lack of energy is to have overlapping goals. This means that as you’re nearing the finish line with one goal, you're already starting to work on your next one. Use the exhilaration of accomplishment from achieving your first goal to fuel you forward on goal number two. This cycle of one great finish spurring you on to complete another thing will put you on a positive upward trajectory. 

Closing Thoughts

Setting goals is important for achieving anything in life. Whether it’s personal, professional, short-term, or long-term, it’s important to learn how to break down your goals and maintain the habits that will allow you to achieve them.

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