Sometimes goals are very cOnCreTe. You want to save up money to buy a car, go to school to get a nursing degree, or run your first 5K. These goals are very specific. You either have reached the goal or not. But, then there are those goals that aren’t so concrete such as you want to be a better wife, have more patience with your kids, or not be so worried about what others think of you. These goals are much more vague and although they are noble and worthwhile to pursue, if you don’t make them specific you will ever really know if you accomplished the goal.
So, how do you make a vague goal sPeCiFic? The best way to do this is to ask yourself what that quality looks like in concrete terms. For example, if your goal is to be a better wife, what does being a “better wife” look like in your eyes? Could you be a better listener by giving your husband 100% of your attention when he is talking to you, have dinner waiting for your husband when he comes home from work, be more supportive of him by not criticizing him around friends and family?
Once you know what a “better wife” looks like then you will need to quantify it. (This will probably look different from everyone else depending on you and your husband’s needs, personalities, and individual situations. Don’t think this has to be a carbon copy of someone else.) For example, “I will have dinner on the table when my husband comes home from work 4 out of 5 times a week.” “I will plan a night for us to go out on a date and do something we both enjoy at least once a week.” These goals are very specific. You either did them or you didn’t.
Let me share a personal example with you. In the Suede•Sofa’s six-month Challenge, my goal is to be at peace with food. I know in order to do this, I must use self-control in my eating. That is a good goal to have, but how do I know if I am using “self-control?” I have turned that vague goal into a specific one by quantifying it. One bad habit I had was eating all my food for that day by breakfast or lunch. Then I would try to compensate by skipping dinner. My specific goal to counteract that bad habit is to eat three meals a day – saving calories/points/etc for each meal. I want to do this at least 4 days a week. At the end of the week I know whether I met my goal or not.
Notice that I am taking <s m a l l s t e p s> in this goal. It would be unrealistic if I expected myself to do this seven days a week. But 4 times a week is an achievable goal. Some weeks I may be successful, other weeks I may falter, but I am at least moving towards the target of self-control.
In this process it is important that you don’t expect perfection, but rather PrOgReSs. As long as you are getting closer to the goal you are succeeding. If you seem to be failing miserably it may be time to reassess your goal. Make sure it is something that you can succeed at regardless how small the step. As you get small successes under your belt you can up the ante little by little. Remember this: SuCcEsS bReEds sUcCesS.
So, go for “MoRe” and “BeTteR”. Just be sure you know what “more” and “better” looks like. Then you will have a clear cut target and increase the chances that you make it to your goal.