Defining Goals

Everyone has goals. Sometimes a goal is as simple as making it though the day or as complex as solving world hunger. The real problem with goals, bad goals, is that they advocate ill-formed often simplistic ideals that provide little to no sense of direction.

Take the falling popular goals:

  • Make it though the day
  • Lose weight
  • Be a millionaire
  • Fall in love
  • Make more money
  • Be more creative
  • Be more organized
  • Be more spontaneous

These goals, while good starts, don’t give the direction needed to truly take action and have measurable success. One of the reasons why people don’t accomplish goals is they don’t have clear goals.

What does it mean to lose weight? Technically you have accomplished this goal if you weigh an ounce less for a second.

What does it mean to make it through the day? Well even if you get hit by a truck and end up in the hospital in surgery, you have made it through the day.

What does it mean to be more organized? You can spend hours alphabetizing your dvds and arranging your books by the dewey-decimal system. Does that truly help you be more organized in a way that affects your every day life?

What does it mean to make more money? You can find a penny on the street and you have more money.

When a goal is clearly defined, steps to accomplish it become more clear, so accomplishing the goal becomes a clear rewarding path instead of jumbled mess of tries and frustration.

Middle of the range goals are better defined but still lack concrete direction.

  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Stop the kids from killing each other
  • Find a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Buy a house
  • Volunteer
  • Go out of the house more

While these goals are better defined, they still lack concrete direction. Eat well and exercise fall under the item listed lose weight. They are better goals because they give direction, but they don’t explain what the end goal is or how to get there.

A goal such as, get out of the house more, how is that measurable? Technically, this goal is fulfilled by being sent to jail for life.

Finding a boyfriend or girlfriend is accomplished by dating someone, anyone, weather they are a sports freak to the extreme, very needy, or a junkie.

I find it easiest to break goals down into daily, monthly, yearly, and lifetime goals.

Lifetime goals and stretch goals are not handled in this post because they are a different subject matter. Instead, I am focusing on the days, weeks, months, and years we have to accomplish dreams.

I find it easiest to start at the year mark and work back. The year goals are what I will accomplish in the next year and each breakdown explains how to reach that goal.

To see how this works, I am creating a hypothetical person named Lisa. Lisa is 30 pounds or so over weight. She wants to weigh 130. She feels as if she is either at home or working. She wants a life with a boyfriend and activities to do. She wants some fun in her life. Her work life is ok, but nothing great, she makes enough to eat, but the job can be quite stressful.

If Lisa took this approach to her goals, she would write them as follows:


  • Lose 30 pounds by diet and exercise
  • Find a boyfriend who loves to be with me and do activities. (There is a lot more to this, I will write about this in another post)
  • Find a new job with less stress and more money.


  • Speak with at least 4 people who are good business contacts that I know, and send them my resume.
  • Go out, even if it is all by myself, 6 times. Invite friends every time.
  • Join 1 new group I am interested in.
  • Read 2 books on nutrition (not fad diet books)
  • Be able to run 1 mile in 10 minutes(every month the number increased by 1 until 12 is it and the time is increased by 10 minutes, then redefine)


  • Do 1 hour of physical activity (hiking, rollerblading, snowball fights, skiing, walking, paintball, basketball, racquetball, weight train, swim, jog, etc)
  • Check and career builder every day and submit for jobs I am qualified for.
  • Watch no more then 30 minutes of TV

Lisa now has a clear list of things she needs to do every day that will help accomplish her goals. Both her monthly and daily goals address her need to go out, be fit, meet people, and find a new job. Her goal of joining a new club can serve two purposes because she may chose to join a hiking club which will get her out with lots of exercise and out with people. By following her easy daily goals, and keeping on track with her monthly goals, she is able to do wonders. A typical day for Lisa might look like this.

  • 6 :Wake up at
  • 6 – 7 :Go out for a jog/walk from
  • 7-8 :get ready for work and drive there
  • 8-6 : work and drive home
  • 6-7 : eat while checking out the new job postings
  • 7-10 out at new activity which is a volleyball league
  • 10 : Go to bed, read new nutrition book until lights out.

Lisa gets to have fun, see friends, gets about 3 hours of exercise in, meets new people, focuses on finding a new job, and gets to bed after a day that has gotten her a couple steps closer to where she wants to be.

I find that I pay a lot more attention to my goals when I write them down and have a clear idea of where I am going and what the rewards are. I usually even write down on a daily planner what my daily and monthly goals are and check them off. I know when I hit the mark, and when I don’t.

What are your goals? Are your goals clearly defined or are they some far away seemly impossible blob someone in the distant future?


Adrienne :)

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3 Responses to “Defining Goals”

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