By: Ken Austin
Be Specific: Write down every goal you have and put boundaries around it so that you will know when you have achieved that goal. Saying "I'm going to be a better manager," "I'm going to be a better parent," "I'm going to get a better education," or "I'm going to get a new house" simply isn't effective.
You must specifically and clearly identify your target. The more details you give, the more likely you are to get excited about your goal and develop the passion that enables you to focus on reaching that target.
If you decide that you are going to be a better parent, for example, you must determine "better than what." Better than being too tired after work to spend time helping with homework? Better than being impatient and yelling at the children over every little thing? Better than never saying "I love you"? You can see that this procedure doesn't get to the solution quickly enough. Instead, decide to spend time with your child, be patient, and hold your tongue - except when it comes to saying "I love you." Get specific!
Try To Make Goals Measurable: Not every goal is measurable. For example, you can't specifically measure how much your self-esteem has improved, although you may know and feel that it has improved. However, putting measures on a goal helps you to realize at any moment where you are in pursuing that goal. For example, if your goal is "I want to be a better parent," how can you know when you have reached "better"? Instead, write some smaller, specific steps that move you toward the larger goal of becoming a better parent. You can set up steps such as the following:
• I will tuck my children into bed lovingly and carefully every night this week and spend those last few minutes talking with them.
• At breakfast, I will be careful not to be uptight or grouchy. Instead, I will be pleasant and cheerful and assure my children that today is going to be a good day.
• This week I will spend at least one hour in one-on-one time with each of my kids, doing something that each child particularly enjoys.
At the end of the week, give yourself a checkup to determine whether you've completed each particular step. If you successfully reach your mini-goals each week for several weeks, you will see measurable progress toward your larger goal. (Yes, you have become a better mom or dad.)