Practical Tips for Setting and Working Toward Personal Goals


For many of us, the holiday season (and especially the New Year) is a time of reflection. It’s a time to take stock of the year’s events, reflect on changes at home and at work, and make plans for the year to come. Although many people wait for January 1st to make a resolution, it’s never too early or too late to set personal goals.

In my professional life, there’s a serious focus on goal-setting. We are constantly asked, as teachers, to teach goal-setting skills, and to set professional goals for ourselves. If your kids are school-age, you might have heard these terms: S.M.A.R.T. Goals, Growth Mindset, and Transferrable Skills. No matter what vocabulary you use, the practice of setting and tracking personal goals can be beneficial in your life, as well.

If you’re looking to make a personal change, I have some tips for getting started and making progress:

Tip #1: Start by making a personal inventory of things you are proud of and things you would like to work on.

Try not to focus on physical appearance and how others see you, but rather how you feel, and what you enjoy doing.

personal goals, self help
My personal inventory

Tip #2: Choose something from your list to focus on.

Make sure it is something that is (#1) doable, and (#2) something that you can measure. And lastly, (#3) make sure it is something that will bring you joy. A work-related goal may or may not be the right choice here.

Tip #3: Write down your goal, and be specific!

personal goals, goal setting, self help
My personal goal

While I do own a small sewing business, sewing is in my top 5 favorite things to do. It absolutely brings me joy!

Tip #4: If you have a big goal, break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Or, if your goal could be accomplished in multiple ways, brainstorm what your progress might look like.

goal setting, personal goals, self help
A few ways I can work toward my goal

Tip #5: Find a support person (or pet!)

Your support person could be a friend or family member. You could be working toward the same goal, but you don’t have to be. Sometimes, just talking about your progress is a way of supporting you. Or if your goal is to walk more, your support “person” could even be your pup.

And once you’ve started working toward your big goal…

Tip #6: Keep track of your progress!

Be sure to include dates & time spent (if applicable). I like to keep all of my info in the same notebook so I can look at my progress over time. If you are planning on doing things daily or weekly, a calendar might also be helpful.

goal setting, personal goals, self help
One way I keep track of my progress

Tip #7: Celebrate the small stuff.

Plan how you will reward yourself for meeting your goals. You can absolutely involve friends and family in the celebration, but it may not always make sense depending on your goal.

self help, goal setting, personal goals
I like to plan my rewards ahead of time so I have something to look forward to.

Being a mom requires doing so much for others every day that it’s easy to lose track of ourselves. It’s important to stop once in awhile, take stock of where we are, and commit some time for self-care. In fact, I’m a firm believer that having (and working toward) personal goals for myself helps me be a more supportive mom/wife/aunt/teacher (and the list goes on). With a little hard work and dedication, you can create positive personal change. You can be the best version of yourself.


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