goals – actions are what get you there

(This reblog was originally posted on one of my previous blogs/websites. I'm reposting it here because of any of a number of reasons that make it a post I feel is worth still having available for discussion. Minor editing may have been done for clarity, or in some instances maybe there was some additional clarifying my original intent, or removing out of date information. Just letting you know. Unless noted, the publish date here reflects the originally published date.)


I’ll be the first to admit, I’m actually pretty terrible about setting and following through with goals. Despite the fact I’ve given a few talks to various groups about them over the years. But, doesn’t mean I can’t keep trying, right?

A lot of you are probably familiar with the SMART system of goals… Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Based. I learned a few things about goals that I really resonate better with me, so let me share with you by way of example.

By the time February is over, I’ll have done about 110 miles of hiking, walking, and snowshoeing, with over 60% of that in February. But I can do better, and this is where some goal setting will hopefully help. Now SMART goals are fine, but I think it misses something. There are actually two types of goals you need to be setting for any given situation. First, you have the outcome… just what is it you’re shooting for. Second is the action goal or goals. These are the things you actually do to reach that outcome. And while many actions seem like they are the outcome, I think more often than not you’re best served keeping them entirely separate.

And when it comes to actually planning out your goals, you need four basic things.

  • It must be in writing: If you don’t put it in writing, it’s nothing more than a wish or a dream.
  • It must be specific and measurable: If it’s not, how will you know you’ve reached it?
  • It must have a specific time line: Because if it doesn’t, you know you’ll just keep procrastinating.
  • It must be realistic: Maybe the most important one. Unrealistic goals just set us up for self-defeat.

So here I am, putting my goals in writing for you, and to reach my outcome goal, I came up with two action goals to go along with it.

  • The Outcome: Hike/Walk at least 150 miles between March 1 and April 30, 2016.
    • Action Goal 1: Get in at average of at least 10 miles per weekend (8.5 weekends = at least 85 miles)
    • Action Goal 2: Average at least 7 miles the rest of each week (just shy of 9 full weeks = 63 miles)

85 and 63 only come to 148, but I think I can squeeze at least another 2 miles in there somewhere. If I stick to my daily lunchtime walk of 2 miles at least 4 days per week, I’ll beat that second action goal without doing any other activity. The 10 miles per weekend may be a bit tougher, just because other commitments, but I think I can still do it. I have a few hikes already planned where I’ll be doing 8-10 in one day, so anything I get the second day will help make up for shortages on another weekend.

I’ll post updates over on Facebook and Twitter if you are at all interested in following along… or if you want to share your own goals.

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