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Self-improvement 101: setting goals for myself

February 1, 2024
5 min 25 sec
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Whether it's achieving career milestones or enhancing personal growth, understanding the importance of setting goals is the first step towards self-improvement. It's about creating achievable, meaningful objectives. 

The trick is to take into account both personal aspirations and professional ambitions, to ensure you’re moving in the right direction. As we dive into how to set goals for yourself, you’ll see that creating goals is a commitment to yourself - a willingness to look for the best version of yourself. 

The importance of setting goals for myself

Here’s why it’s important to set goals for yourself:

  • Direction and focus: Goals give you a clear direction. Instead of wandering through life, goals act like a roadmap. Whether you're setting goals for work or trying to improve a personal skill, having a goal keeps your efforts focused and aligned.
  • Measuring progress: Goals help you track your progress. It's rewarding to see how far you've come and what you've achieved. This sense of accomplishment is crucial for staying motivated and committed to your resolution.
  • Overcoming procrastination: By setting specific goals, you create deadlines that push you to take action. Goals break down the overwhelming tasks into manageable steps, making it easier to start and keep going.

Be S.M.A.R.T. about it

Applying the SMART method to self-improvement can transform a general desire into a concrete, achievable plan. For example, let’s say your goal is to lose a few pounds:

  1. Specific: Define precisely what you want to achieve. Instead of simply claiming “I want to lose weight” and going about your day, you should specify your goal, such as "I want to lose 15 pounds."
  1. Measurable: Set measurable criteria to track your progress. For example, "I will track my weight weekly on Thursdays and aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week."
  1. Achievable: Make sure your weight loss goal is realistic and attainable. Losing 1-2 pounds per week is considered safe and sustainable. If you set an unrealistic goal, like losing 30 pounds in a month, it will most certainly lead to disappointment (or unhealthy dieting practices).
  1. Relevant: Align your weight loss goal with the rest of your life. Consider how losing weight will impact your overall well-being, self-esteem, and lifestyle. For example if you aim too low, you might find that nothing changes in your life and feel disappointed. "Losing 15 pounds will improve my overall health, energy levels, and confidence."
  1. Time-bound: Set a realistic deadline to keep you focused and motivated. For a 15-pound weight loss at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week, a timeframe of about 8-15 weeks is appropriate.

So, here is what setting goals for yourself would look like in a SMART format: 

  1. Specific: "My goal is to lose 15 pounds by following a balanced diet with controlled portions."
  2. Measurable: "I will keep a food diary and weigh myself every week to track my progress."
  3. Achievable: "My diet plan includes foods I enjoy and are low caloric, making it sustainable and realistic."
  4. Relevant: "This goal aligns with my long-term health objectives, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and boosting self-esteem."
  5. Time-Bound: "I want to reach my goal within the next 12 weeks."

By using the SMART framework, the goals you set for yourself become a clear, structured plan. Regular check-ins and adjustments to your plan will help you stay on track and adapt to any changes in your routine or lifestyle.

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Tricks to better set goals for yourself

Set long-term goals for yourself:

These are your big-picture objectives, the ultimate achievements you aspire to over a longer period, typically ranging from several years to a lifetime. They provide a clear direction and a final destination for your efforts. Long-term goals often represent significant achievements or life milestones, like obtaining a degree, owning a home, or reaching a particular career position.

They are often broader in scope, less specific and more about the overall vision for your life or career. They are also more flexible: they can evolve over time as your circumstances and perspectives change.

Long term goals keep you motivated by reminding you of the bigger picture and what you ultimately want to achieve.

But don’t forget about short-term goals:

Short term goals are objectives set to be accomplished in the near future, typically within a few days to a year. They act as stepping stones towards achieving your long-term goals. Short-term goals help you make consistent progress by breaking down the goal into manageable steps.

Characteristics of short term goals:

  • Specific and actionable: They are usually very specific and involve clear, immediate actions.
  • Measurable and time-bound: You can easily track your progress and have a specific timeframe for completion.
  • Realistic: They are set within your current capabilities and resources.

How short and long term goals work together:

  • Alignment: Your short-term goals should be aligned with your long-term aspirations. Each short-term goal should be a step that moves you closer to your long-term objectives.
  • Momentum: Achieving short-term goals provides a sense of accomplishment and helps build momentum. This keeps you motivated and focused on your larger goals.
  • Flexibility: As you progress towards your long-term goals, your short-term goals can be adjusted to accommodate changes in your circumstances, priorities, or insights.
  • Balancing act: It's important to maintain a balance. Focusing too much on short-term goals can lead to losing sight of the bigger picture, while focusing only on long-term goals can make you feel overwhelmed or disconnected from your current actions.

In essence, long-term goals give you a destination, while short-term goals provide the steps to get there. This dual approach ensures that you are making consistent progress while staying focused on your ultimate objectives.

How can Oneleaf help?

Oneleaf helps you set and achieve your goals through self-hypnosis programs. These programs are easy to use and can be accessed on your phone or tablet. They last about 15-25 minutes each day. 

Here’s how it works:

Getting ready: The program starts by helping you get ready to focus and set your goals. It helps you understand why you want to achieve these goals.

Changing habits: Next, it teaches you how to deal with things that stop you from reaching your goals, like procrastination. It encourages you to feel good about small successes.

Becoming more productive: Finally, you use what you've learned to concentrate better and develop a healthy routine, which is important for achieving your goals.

Oneleaf's self-hypnosis programs are a way of focusing your mind to be more open to new ideas. It’s like being in a very focused state of mind where you're more open to learning and growing. This can help you a lot in reaching your goals.

Start your first session now, and become the person you know you can be

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