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  • Writer's pictureAngela Stratman

The Process of Goal Setting



Life is a whirlwind of responsibilities, experiences, and aspirations. While setting goals is essential to this journey, it's equally crucial to approach them with mindfulness and patience.


I'll always remember one year I reached December and realized I hadn't accomplished anything during the year; it was the same old thing day in and day out. Now, did I not accomplish anything? I probably accomplished something, but I couldn't remember it. I never wanted to experience that feeling again, and I don't want anyone else to either. So now, I tend to set my annual goals during the last week of the year. I plan it like a meeting or class; I give it a specific date and time frame and then do nothing else during that time.


Typically, I'll go somewhere quiet, like the library or the coffee shop in a bookstore, get a beverage, find a table, and start working. When my kids were little, I would just put them down for a nap or quiet playtime and sit at the dining room table. The point is to make time to plan what you want to accomplish.


Part 1: Reflecting on Your Values

Before diving into goal setting, take some time for self-reflection. Consider your core values and what truly matters to you. Is it personal growth, relationships, health, or academic achievements? Understanding your values will guide you in setting meaningful and harmonious goals with your authentic self. You will read the phrase "mindful goal setting" multiple times in this post; if you are not thinking about the why of a goal, you will never achieve the how. So, take your time and think about why you want to make something a goal.


Part 2: Deciding on the Areas to Improve

Now remember you only need to improve some areas of your life at a time or sometimes none at all. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm yourself. If you take on too much, you may succeed at nothing. I focus on 3-4 goals per year; if I finish them early, I pick a different goal in another area.


Below is a list of areas in no particular order where goal setting can be impactful. See this post on "Goal Planning for Each Area of Your Life" for greater details on each area.

  • Family, Friends, Relationships

  • Spirituality, Community

  • Finances

  • Career Development

  • Health

  • Fun, Travel, Recreation

  • Personal Development


I have a free PDF for download with examples of goals for each area I mentioned.

Download here.

Life Goals Examples Printable
.pdf
Download PDF • 135KB


Part 3 - Building a Support System

Mindful goal setting acknowledges the importance of a support system. Share your goals with friends, roommates, or family members who can provide encouragement and accountability. A support network can make the journey more enjoyable and increase your chances of success.


Part 4 – Tracking and Measuring

Tracking and measuring goals is like having a roadmap for your journey. It involves closely monitoring your progress, noting milestones, and adjusting your course if needed. Regularly checking in on your goals gives you valuable insights into what's working well and where adjustments might be necessary. This process allows you to stay motivated, maintain focus, and make informed decisions along the way. Whether through a simple checklist, a progress journal, or using digital tools, tracking your goals ensures that you have a clear understanding of your path and empowers you to stay on course toward your desired outcomes.


Part 5 - Celebrating Small Wins

In the hustle and bustle of life, it's easy to overlook small achievements. Mindful goal setting encourages you to celebrate even the smallest wins on your journey. Whether completing a week of consistent workouts or dedicating time to read a book, acknowledging these achievements reinforces positive behaviors and motivates you to continue prioritizing your goals.


Part 6 - Adjusting Goals with Self-Compassion

Life is dynamic, and circumstances may change. Mindful goal setting emphasizes self-compassion and the ability to adapt. If a particular goal no longer serves you or needs adjustment, be open to reassessing and modifying your objectives. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination, and flexibility is critical.


Part 7 – Seeing the Final Results

Reaching the final results of a goal set is the culmination of dedication, effort, and perseverance. It's the moment when you can step back and appreciate the journey you've undertaken. Achieving a goal brings a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, validating the hard work put into the process. This phase is not only about the tangible outcomes but also the personal growth and learning that occurred along the way. Whether you celebrate small victories or monumental achievements, seeing the final results of a goal is a gratifying experience that reinforces your ability to set and accomplish what you've set out to do. It marks the closing chapter of one goal and, often, the opening of new possibilities and aspirations.


In the chaos of life, goals serve as guiding lights. Reflecting on past years, I've embraced mindful goal setting, dedicating specific time annually for self-reflection and planning. Beginning with a values-driven approach, I choose 3-4 goals from diverse areas like Family, Finances, and Health.


Building a support system is vital, and tracking progress keeps me focused. Celebrating small wins reinforces positive habits. Flexibility is crucial, allowing for adjustments with self-compassion in life's dynamic nature. Reaching a goal's final results is a gratifying culmination, marking tangible achievements and personal growth. It's a celebration of the journey, closing one chapter and unveiling new possibilities. Happy Goal Setting!


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